The number of gambling ads on television in Victoria has skyrocketed in the past five years, new data has shown.
Young men between the ages of 18 and 24 were the biggest sports betters in Victoria
The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation is calling for changes to make gambling ads less accessible to kids
Hawthorn AFL player Mitch Lewis is aiming to spread awareness about the risks of gambling
A report from the Nielsen institute found gambling ads have increased by 253 per cent since 2016.
The research commissioned by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation showed there were an average of 948 gambling ads broadcast daily on free-to-air TV in Victoria in 2021.
The data showed the gambling industry spent $287.2 million on advertising in Australia last year, an increase of $15.9 million from 2020.
Shane Lucas, CEO of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, said there was an “extraordinary” amount of gambling ads on TV.
He said this was putting messaging around gambling in front of children and young people.
“I think we’d all like to see these sports betting advertisements getting further away from kids,” he said.
“We’d also like to see more of a discussion about the risks associated with gambling and not just the recreational aspects.”
In 2017, the federal government banned gambling ads during live sports until 8:30pm in an effort to reduce the impact on children, but Mr Lucas said the ads should not be played during games at all.
“I think we all know that when you’re watching sport on a Friday night or Saturday night, it goes until 10:30 at night, and the kids are still watching to the end of the game,” he said.
Mr Lucas said the generation that grew up with betting ads was feeling the impacts.
Young men between 18 and 24 were most represented in the data, making up almost a third of sports betters in Victoria.
Mitch Lewis says gambling ads have a massive impact on kids and young people.(AAP: Daniel Pockett)
Hawthorn AFL player Mitch Lewis is part of this demographic, and hopes to spread awareness about the risks of gambling.
“Sports gambling is so easily accessible these days, which is why my age group is so prominent in that,” said the 23-year-old.
“Gambling and sports betting play such a massive part in terms of influencing the younger generation.”
The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation’s “Love the Game” initiative kicked off this month, which aims to change the focus from betting back to footy.
Lewis said spending time with kids on local footy fields as part of the initiative has shown him how invested they are in the game itself.
“It’d be nice if adults and young people could have that same attitude,” he said.
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