Betting, gambling and wagering is ubiquitous in Australia these days. From Tattersalls sponsoring bits of the Royal Children’s Hospital here in Victoria, to the presence of gambling advertising at the local club level, to advertising for online sports betting on TV, to the weaving of betting odds into the actual sports broadcasts, including during the daytime when children are likely to be watching.
And while the kids are not likely to go off and start gambling when they see those ads, they do certainly grow up with them, and learn to think of them as a genuine part of sport and sport broadcasts. These ads are recruiting children as the gamblers of tomorrow.
It is well recognised that sports betting is threatening the integrity of professional sport in Australia. Problem gambling is responsible for relationship breakdowns, divorces, child neglect, depression and substance abuse. The connection between gambling and crime is well documented.
The International Cricket Council has stated in the past that it opposes the association of Cricket Australia or the media with betting companies.
It is therefore a real scandal that Channel 9 (and other free and commercial TV stations here) keep showing ads featuring Samuel L Jackson praising the “biggest online betting company” while thousands of kids are watching the Cricket, and keep integrating live odds into the broadcast, as if this was some journalistic task to be completed, just like showing the bowling statistics.
So I am listening to the Cricket on my radio instead, screw Channel 9 and its gambling adverts. The commentary is better on the ABC anyway.
You would think that the federal government might want to step in here and finally regulate the influence and omnipresence of this harmful advertising in our society. But no, wait, that would be doing something useful.