Sports betting is the fastest growing gambling sector Sports betting can involve traditional sports such as football and cricket but can also cover less traditional contests like the outcome of elections or the results of reality TV shows. As well as the end result of a game, bets can be placed on what happens within the game, like who will kick the first goal or score the first try or what will be the winning margin. You can bet in person at a TAB, over the phone or online.
There has been a rapid diversification of sports wagering since the mid 2000s with the Australian sports betting industry now estimated to be worth around $500 million per year and growing at 20% annually.
Why are we concerned?
You have heard all of this over the last few days so I won’t repeat it but we need to remember that gambling not only affects individuals but also families and the wider community.
And - sports wagering now appears to the norm
There is evidence that advertising & promotion does increase consumption of harmful products Alcohol – link between exposure to advertising and young people’s drinking behaviour Each additional….. Tobacco – advertising in sport has been linked to increased awareness, experimentation & use Fast food – advertising increases children’s consumption of fast food
Throughout history, companies have responded to deflect concerns about harmful product advertising, promotion, sponsorship, under-age consumption & tax increases and have developed similar prevention and education campaigns to those of PH
And although we are not saying all education campaigns are ineffective – we are suggesting that the industry ones that are
Now it is gambling’s turn to respond to these increasing concerns
PH can leapfrog on these and save time by learning from the past. Industry moves fast and we need to keep up, get infront and withstand an attack
Humour - whether it be in the form of an animal, a funny slogan, an illustration…humour has been used to disarm an audience and make them warm up to the product
- humour generally is drawn to text or an image that makes people laugh because they are enjoyable to view
- and it can divert the reader’s attention away from any negative connotations associated with the product – like it is addictive…or in tobacco's case – can kill.
CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK
In the gambling world, humour is used in a number of ways – and of course, some people don’t think this is humour at all!! But you know what – it is memorable!
Image selection is a powerful marketing tool –You can see how Phillip Morris used images to target young female smokers. With cigarettes, the package is important – and often referred to as the silent salesman.
Industry documents have confirmed that companies invest significant research into pack design to communicate specific messages to certain groups, including young people. In the early 1990s, a presenter addressing marketing staff at Philip Morris remarked that:
'Packs aimed at younger women should be 'slick, sleek, flashy, glittery, shiny, silky, bold.‘ (1992) As online sports betting is a pretty standardised product – with no package, there is a need for the imagery to promote their product and create relevance. CLICK These images communicate the 'personality‘ – or promote the “appeal” of online betting – such as the girls in green.
CLICK For any marketers in the room, you will have heard of the “Lists of three” - commonly used to persuade because they are simple, snappy, easily repeatable and, therefore, easy to remember. In the case with Sportsbet – it is faster….easier…better er…… and we have seen this tactic used in junk food marketing - like KFC or Coke – CLICK the real thing or make it real
Being cool sells. Think about Apple – people want to be seen with an Apple device. Apple product placement in movies is paramount.
We know that alcohol advertisements that portray certain ages, gender & fun loving younger social people, appeal to audiences, who then may develop corresponding mental images of the type of person who drinks alcohol.
People may perceive that drinkers possess positive attributes after seeing flattering depictions in ads. We see that here with both tobacco and alcohol.
So for alcohol and tobacco – the marketing tactics were focused not on what the product was – but what it could do for you….What is the benefit of using the products…..
An example - did you know that research has identified that consumers perceive whiskey drinkers to be more friendly, relaxed, fun-loving, happy, manly, successful, sophisticated, and good-looking and Those heavily exposed to beer advertising tend to perceive beer drinkers as more adult, fun-loving, young, friendly, and happy….
The same tactics are being used in sports betting - stressing the importance of being with friends, using the latest technology and hanging our with your mates…. CLICK CLICK
Personalising is a tactic used by industry to sell harmful products.
You are more likely to see a coke ad individualised for a particular festival or with someone’s name.
For tobacco – they have used the association with educated professionals.
Research has indicated that advertisements with high recall use images that are associated with high class and which will impress people
Tobacco has also packaging to cater to, and personalise a produce for certain sub populations - Sobranie was the brightly coloured novelty cocktail cigarettes (each cigarette a different colour) appeared in 2007 and was still listed in July 2012. Another example is the Red Fortune Bamboo manufactured by Imperial Tobacco with its 'Asian chic' package design was introduced early in 2011.
In gambling – the same tactics are used – they link gambling to YOUR team. CLICK CLICK
So the identification of specific people or groups helps the marketer make the product much more personable and meaningful to the consumer.
And the latest advert from VB – is having your name on the cricket uniform.
In the junk food sector, we know that high profile athletes can influence children’s eating behaviours.
We know that using celebrities, unique themes and memorable symbols particularly from the sport or music sectors, encourages alcohol brand loyalty in adolescents.
Some examples? 60s: Frank Sinatra’s Budweiser commercial and Frank Clifford’s Lucky Strike advertisement Who could forget that Pepsi commercial that lit Michael Jackson’s hair on fire and resulted in second-degree scalp burns? Now Beyoncé has signed a $50 million deal with Pepsi. Madden Bros endorse KFC The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant brought in about $12 million a year for endorsing McDonald’s Soccer star David Beckham has endorsed Burger King smoothies and Diageo’s Haig Club whiskey
Young people look up to celebrities, and they want to be like them. CLICK So it is only natural to expect the online sports betting marketing to use similar tactics. They even have a website showcasing the top 10 celebrities who bet on sports
Movies… music….transport…..sport…..doesn't really matter where you go – alcohol, tobacco and fast food have all used product placement to sell and promote their products
On this slide we have signage on sports fields and jerseys. We have Corona in Green Hornett and vodka in Lady Gaga’s bad romance music video and James Bond (pierce brosnan) with a cigarette.
One of the distinguishing features of much contemporary marketing is the way it blurs the line between promotion and content, and between advertising and entertainment.
Rather than promoting a product through a discrete and identifiable advertisement, such as a television commercial, marketers are increasingly weaving references to a product into the very ‘fabric’ of media and communications.
Despite this, research tells us that viewers do not see these product placements as a specific persuasion attempt and they are less likely to raise consumer defences (McCarthy 2004; Balasubramanian 1994).
And so we see it in sports betting as well..CLICK CLICK CLICK
Sex sells….. Consumers not only purchase a product for its functional benefits but they purchase the image they perceive the product to have, whether real or perceived.
In one advertising response study to alcohol, ads projecting romance, affiliation, and psychosexual appeals were tested. After seeing an ad depicting a romantic couple, about 1/6th said that the typical drinker of the alcohol product was romantic.
When exposed to an ad showing a sexy female or lustful lovers, about 1/10th got the impression that the users of the alcohol product were sexy/swinging persons. (1227 people – shown 535 adverts)
If we just look at alcohol, we have many examples of "sexualisation" of prepackaged drinks such as Quickie cocktails and Stiffy's Shots. Other examples include the Krush frozen alcoholic cocktails called Pink Pussy, Screaming Orgasm and Shag; phallic shaped shots named Foreplay and Sex on the Beach; and "vodka tube" drinks called Love Juice and Wet 'n' Wild.
Experts fear the sexual packaging of products is particularly designed to encourage consumption particularly in young people. We are seeing sex in the gambling advertisements as well. CLICK CLICK
From previous slide Ref - Charles K. Atkin and Martin Block (1984) ,"The Effects of Alcohol Advertising", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 11, eds. Thomas C. Kinnear, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 688-693. Jones, Sandra C., and Amanda Reid. "The Use Of Female Sexuality In Australian Alcohol Advertising: Public Policy Implications Of Young Adults' Reactions To Stereotypes." Journal Of Public Affairs (14723891) 10.1/2 (2010): 19-35.Academic Search Premier. Web. 30 Nov. 2012.
Australian sport is rife with the promotion of alcohol, junk food and gambling. Recent research identified that nearly ¾ of sports was sponsored by a company that sells those products.
An audit of the 53 sporting organisations that received funding from the Australian Sports Commission indicated a pervasive level of influence by companies that sell "unhealthy" products. Cricket topped the list with the unhealthy trinity of booze, betting and burgers comprising 27% of its sponsors, including 19 fast food manufacturers, 10 alcohol companies and one gambling operator.
Yet the sponsors continue to argue that this is a CSR strategy and it is good for the community.
For example, Cricket Australia has a range of programs to keep kids active and sponsors such as KFC help make these activities happen. Coke sponsor the Happiness cycle that encourages young people to cycle.
We are seeing the same sponsorship creep in from the gambling sector – paddy power sponsored the athletic meet. CLICK
A California lawmaker introduced legislation Wednesday that would require sugary drinks sold in that state to carry a label that cautions they can contribute to “obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”
Plain packaging ........eliminates consumer choice, disrupts market competition, and deprives us of our intellectual property.
Research into responsibility messages on alcohol products identified that while responsibility messages were present in many alcohol ads, none of them provide any information about what it means to drink responsibly.
A study by Thomas in 2014 found similar results with responsible gambling messages where despite the appearance of longer forms of mandatory gambling warning messages could be recalled by participants, very few were able to recall the specific information contained in these advertisements.
In the UK, William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and Paddy Power have featured prominent responsible-gambling messages –a result of the watchdog Senet Group, which was set up by the bookmakers in 2014 in response to public concern on gambling in advertising. The bookmakers pledged to carry strong responsible-gambling messaging on all TV and online advertising as well as ads inside betting shops from 1 January 2015.
The message - “When the Fun Stops, Stop” – features on all advertising run by members of the Senet Group.
In the main, responsible gambling messages remain in the domain of self regulation so more research is needed in this space.
So many examples – but lets just take Coca-Cola. It has has positioned itself as wanting to be “part of the solution” to the obesity epidemic by increasing the availability of smaller portion sizes, offering more low-kilojoule products and supporting physical activity programs.
This approach has been slammed as a “smoke screen” by many public health advocates who suggest that if Coca-Cola was serious about fighting obesity, “they would be doing things that really do work. They would be restricting advertising to young children and they’d be encouraging other companies to do the same, and they wouldn’t put 10 teaspoons of sugar in a can of Coke”.
In a nutshell, Coke contributes to chronic disease and its core business is to make money and sell their product – so all of these educational and awareness strategies draw attention away from the contribution of their products to overweight and obesity.
And although not as obvious within the sports betting sector, these types of smokescreens are becoming more common. Click
This slide depicts the advocacy strategies run by the public health sector to combat tobacco
As you can it occurred over a period of 40 years and the battles still continue
The journey with sports betting has only just begun – but we are forming a committed group of advocates, researchers and practitioners who are passionate about this issue.
The limited impact of self-regulation suggests that governments should define the policy framework for regulating sports wagering advertising
Learning from the past – How industry repeats persuasive tactics to promote sports wagering
Learning from the past – How industry
repeats persuasive tactics to promote
Melissa Stoneham & Mike Daube
Public Health Advocacy Institute WA
Public Health Concerns
• Growth in online sports wagering industry tactics is attracting and
engaging young people
• 70% of Australians are reported to be participating in some form of
• Up to 80% of young people have reported engaging in a form of
gambling by the age of 18
• The industry is selling the message that online sports wagering is
glamorous, fun and will turn interest and knowledge of sports into
• Sports wagering is becoming normalised
History repeated…when it comes to industry
tactics for engagement
We know that….
• Most longitudinal studies support a relationship between exposure to
alcohol advertising and subsequent adolescent alcohol use, and heavier
drinking among existing drinkers1
• Each additional alcohol advertisement viewed by 15 to 26 years olds has
been found to increase their alcohol consumption by 1% 2
• Tobacco advertising at sporting events has been linked to increased
awareness, experimentation and use of tobacco products 3
• Unhealthy food advertising exposure significantly increased food
consumption in children, but not adults. Television and Internet advertising
were equally impactful 4
1. Anderson, De Bruijn, Angus, Gordon, & Hastings, 2009
2. Snyder, Fleming Milici, Slater, Sun, & Strizhakova, 2006
3. Ledwith, 1984; López et al., 2004; Pierce et al., 1998; Sparks, 1999; Vaidya, Naik, & Vaidya, 1996
4. 1.E. J. Boyland, S. Nolan, B. Kelly, C. Tudur-Smith, A. Jones, J. C. Halford, E. Robinson, 2016
And sports betting is on board….
• Study of 920 lottery advertisements, McMullan and Miller found that
gambling advertisements used a range of different appeal techniques:
• sound effects (exploding fireworks)
• overlays with ‘spend’ themes; and
• brightly coloured images and texts.
• These techniques are used to amplify the excitement associated with
potential monetary wins.
Ref: McMullan, J. L., & Miller, D. E. (2008). All in! The commercial advertising of offshore gambling on television.
Journal of Gambling Issues, 22, 230-251.
• Throughout history, companies have developed common responses
to deflect concerns about tobacco and alcohol advertising,
promotion, sponsorship, under-age consumption, and tax increases
and develop similar ineffective prevention and education campaigns
• Industries spend billions worldwide promoting their products and
have developed sophisticated lobbying mechanisms to oppose
sectors such as public health
Top 5 Industry Strategies
• Arguing against tax increases – claiming they are regressive, fall most heavily
on lower-income earners, penalise the majority who act responsibly.
• Strategies for marketing to youth –product placement, especially in movies,
sweet, flavour-enhanced products, promotional campaigns.
• Targeting through sponsorship –strategic placement of signage, corporate
donations to special interest groups and community involvement.
• Arguing that health warning labels are ineffective – claim there is a lack of
evidence that warning labels are effective, that they infringe upon
trademarks, and divert attention away from more effective programs.
• Running their own public awareness and education programs – to shape
public opinion, influence government and demonstrate responsible
corporate citizenship. They are developed to change attitudes rather than
Ref: Bond, Laura and Daube, Mike and Chikritzhs, Tanya. 2010. Selling addictions: Similarities in approaches between Big Tobacco and Big
Booze. Australasian Medical Journal. 3 (6): pp. 325-332.
Industry says warning labels are ineffective…
• “Obesity and diabetes are serious health conditions that are more complicated
than a warning label. It is counterproductive to suggest that legislation
affecting some beverages and not others will be effective.”
• “Warning labels will only confuse consumers, rather than help them make
• “Warning labels don't change drinking habits. Instead they impose
unnecessary restrictions and costs on producers and take a simplistic approach
to dealing with a complex problem.”
• “Plain packaging ........eliminates consumer choice, disrupts market
competition, and deprives us of our intellectual property.”
• “Plain packaging of tobacco products is unnecessary, unreasonable and
Running their own public awareness and
Smoking prevalence rates for 14 years or older and key tobacco control measures implemented in Australia since 1990;
Tobacco – Key Facts and Figures: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/tobacco-kff
Where to now?
• Learn from the fast food, alcohol and tobacco industry advertising tactics
• Increase awareness of these industry tactics - demonstrate how they can
be used across industry sectors
• Develop a set of nationally agreed advocacy targets for sports wagering
(part of an ARC grant led by Samantha Thomas)
• Push for legislation rather than self regulation
• Advocate for changes in the current review of the Interactive Gambling Act
• Close loophole re gambling adverts permitted during live sports
• Find champions especially in political sector
• We can stop the harm from growing if we act early - keep researching,
monitoring the industry, disseminating and liaising with decision makers
For more information contact:
Dr Melissa Stoneham