How do gambling ads influence us – and our kids?

with Amber Petty and Professor Samantha Thomas

Aussies are known as a nation of punters who would bet on two flies crawling up a wall, but our increasing exposure to gambling advertising isn’t good for us, our kids, or our wallets. What does the research say about how we can best protect children from the 'normalisation' of gambling?

Listen to "How do gambling ads influence us – and our kids?" on Spreaker.

“When you look at the stats, Australians are the biggest gamblers in the world per capita, so if there was an Olympic games for gambling losses Australia would win the gold medal hands down,” Samantha says. “We spend about – or we lose – about $23 billion every year on gambling.”

Ever since a High Court decision 10 years ago changed the gambling advertising landscape in Australia by allowing bookmaking companies to advertise around the country, Australians have been presented with more ways to gamble than ever. Gambling apps let us have a punt 24/7 from the comfort of our computers or phones and the ads have become ever more appealing.

And although our children might be too young to act on the gambling advertising they see while they’re watching their favourite sport on television or listen to on the radio during the school run, Samantha’s research is revealing they’re not too young to absorb the messages.

“If you think about it, a 10 year-old has never watched a game of football in Australia without seeing gambling ads embedded in it,” she says.

Join Samantha and Amber as they examine how this exposure shapes what kids think about gambling and their intentions to gamble when they’re older, and how we can protect them from gambling harm.

Professor Samantha Thomas is a public health sociologist in the Disability, Inclusion, and Advocacy Research team at Deakin University’s Institute for Health Transformation. She is also the Higher Degree Research Coordinator for Deakin’s School of Health and Social Development. Prior to joining Deakin, Samantha worked at the World Health Organisation (Geneva), King’s College London, Monash University, and the University of Wollongong. She has provided expert testimony to a number of Australian Parliamentary Inquiries, most recently to the Australian Senate Committee on Gambling Reform, and specialises in understanding the range of factors that may contribute to the prevention and reduction of gambling related harm. Her research includes the impact of gambling advertising on young people, young men and sports betting, young women’s gambling, and factors that may contribute to the normalisation of gambling.


Show notes:

Read more about Samantha’s work, including her latest comments on how COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have affected the gambling industry:

The Conversation: With pokies shut down, coronovirus stress could drive more people to reckless online gambling

disruptr: Action called for on gambling harm 

disruptr: Gambling on our children’s future