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Learning from the past – How industry repeats persuasive tactics to promote sports wagering


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Presented at the 6th International Gambling Conference in February 2016.

Presented by Melissa Stoneham

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Learning from the past – How industry repeats persuasive tactics to promote sports wagering

  1. 1. Learning from the past – How industry repeats persuasive tactics to promote sports wagering Melissa Stoneham & Mike Daube Public Health Advocacy Institute WA
  2. 2. Ref:
  3. 3. 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 gambling • 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 money. • Sports wagering is becoming normalised
  4. 4. History repeated…when it comes to industry tactics for engagement
  5. 5. 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
  6. 6. 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) • musical • 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.
  7. 7. Selling Addictions…. • 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
  8. 8. 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 actual behaviour. 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.
  9. 9. Strategy One: Marketing to young people
  10. 10. Humour
  11. 11. Image selection
  12. 12. Being cool
  13. 13. Personalising the message
  14. 14. Y
  15. 15. Celebrity endorsement
  16. 16. Product Placement
  17. 17. Glamorizing or using sex to sell
  18. 18. Targeting through sponsorship
  19. 19. Sponsorship
  20. 20. Arguing that health warnings are ineffective
  21. 21. Industry says warning labels are ineffective… Soda • “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 informed decisions.” Alcohol • “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.” Tobacco • “Plain packaging ........eliminates consumer choice, disrupts market competition, and deprives us of our intellectual property.” • “Plain packaging of tobacco products is unnecessary, unreasonable and unjustified.”
  22. 22. Promoting the responsible message
  23. 23. Running their own public awareness and education programs
  24. 24. Smoking prevalence rates for 14 years or older and key tobacco control measures implemented in Australia since 1990; Tobacco – Key Facts and Figures:
  25. 25. 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
  26. 26. Thanks For more information contact: Dr Melissa Stoneham