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Sport fans can no longer transit to events at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) without commuting through a pool of gambling advertisements.

Richmond Station. Advertising for an online betting company can be found on every platform and station exit. Is the first thing seen as commuters exit the train onto the platform. Source: Alfred Chan

The once iconic Richmond Station which has been synonymous with Australian sporting culture as the transit point for all of Melbourne’s sporting events now contains advertising by an online betting company on all platforms and station exits.

Associate Head of School at Deakin University’s School of Marketing and Management and a registered psychologist, Professor David Bednall questions the growth of Australian betting culture.

“I do have a concern that it’s normalising the association between sport and gambling,” said Bednall.

“It (gambling advertising) appears at footy matches, it appears on television broadcasts of sporting matches.”

“It’s like we’re saying if you like sport, then gambling is part of that sporting culture.”

Flinders Street Station. Melbourne’s busiest transit point contains little to no advertising in comparison to Richmond Station and none from betting companies. Source: Alfred Chan

“That gives me a little concern is that then encourages the new generation of problem gamblers,” said Bednall.

Between January and July of 2012, visits to Australian sport betting websites increased 20 per cent alongside technological advancements which have allowed betting accounts to be accessed from smart phones and tablets.

In 2009, the ABS measured horse racing a sport betting expenditure in Australia to be $2.83 billion. Racing and sport gaming in 2009 had increased 8.5 per cent, almost double non sport/gaming turnover which increased by only 4.6 percent.

Currently, IbisWorld estimate horse racing and sport betting revenue in Australia to be approximately $4 billion annually at a growth rate of 2.6 per cent.

This significant swing in gaming revenue away from casino and lottery revenue to racing and sport have grown parallel with online betting companies in the Australian market. Several are now some of Australia’s biggest sporting sponsors.

“A lot of our public policy concern is about problem gamblers and how big that group is, [is] open to public dispute,” said Bednall.

“Something like one or two per cent of the adult population but typically they account for a disproportionate amount of spending on gambling.”

“It’s something like forty per cent of losses are accounted for by that one or two per cent so they are way over.”

“For people who are problem gamblers, they have extreme problems. Not just the harm they cause for themselves but friends, loved ones and acquaintances around them.  In some cases people have stolen money from employers and charities.”

“That small group causes a disproportionate harm to themselves and the broader community.”

Now with sport gambling advertising at Richmond Station, sport goers which include problem gamblers, are subjected to the advertising on every platform and station exit.

Follow Alfred Chan on Twitter: @AlfredC91