New slogans designed to warn about the risk of gambling fall well short of regulation that might meaningfully curb what has become a social norm, writes Julian Butler SJ. Source: Eureka Street.
In the midst of the spring racing carnival, online betting companies have been told their advertising will next year need to include warnings about the risk of gambling. From April 2023 the ubiquitous “gamble responsibly” will be replaced with seven rotating taglines, including “Chances are you’re about to lose”, and “You win some. You lose more”. Advertisements will also need to include advice on how to seek support.
The changes pick up on the recommendations of a seven-year-old report that suggested consistency across jurisdictions and platforms, given that previous laws and guidelines did not cover digital or social media in the same way as traditional media.
The new requirements seem to play catch up with an uncontainable juggernaut, one that significantly targets and effects young men. They fall well short of regulation that might meaningfully curb what is become a social norm and cultural marker for many.
A number of recent studies suggest gambling is normalised among young people. As other physically based forms of gambling decline, online sports betting seems on the rise. A study in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic found that sports betting was normalised among young men aged 18 to 35, with men aged 18 to 24 old the adult demographic most likely to have a bet in Australia.
Australia’s gambling losses per adult are the highest in the world. In too many cases the behaviours begin earlier.
The announcement of a refresh in the approach to warnings that come with gambling advertisements is welcome, but it will surely do little to curb gambling habits in young men.
Julian Butler SJ is an Australian Jesuit undertaking formation for the priesthood. He previously practiced law, and also has degrees in commerce and philosophy.
New gambling slogans unlikely to curb social losses (Eureka Street)