Melbourne Cup is no longer just a one-off betting experience for Aussie punters, but instead an arena for online gambling houses to vie for the attention and dollars of potential gamblers.
By the time the Spring Carnival season is over, Australians will have bet nearly $1.5 billion since August.
It might be an overcrowded market for multinational online gambling houses, worth the pretty price of $750 million in revenue but with a turnover 10 times that, but that isn’t slowing the efforts of these companies in the bid for people’s cash.
Gambling is the fastest-growing category of advertising on television, and until 2009, NSW and Victorian legislation actually banned interstate gambling companies from advertising.
But that was before the High Court ruled the laws were a restraint of trade and since then it’s been up for grabs, especially during sporting events – and not just after the kids are asleep either.
In the first nine months of this year, from January to September, the industry spent $107.6 million on TV ads alone, up 38 per cent on the same period in 2014, according to Standard Media Index. And those figures don’t include the massive spend for the Spring Carnival and the Melbourne Cup.
But NSW could be about to become the first state to ban the advertising of live betting odds, after the Baird government labelled the practice a risk for problem gamblers and children.
The changes are expected to affect betting advertising during the NRL, AFL, cricket and football, to name a few, with the government also setting out to ban advertising live odds on the radio, with changes kicking in early next year.
“The sports betting market is becoming increasingly competitive with operators aggressively chasing market share through promotions, so it’s important that regulation moves with the industry,” Acting Premier Troy Grant told News Limited.
From 1 March nest year, live odds advertising will be banned during sporting fixtures that last four hours or less, with maximum fine for breaches up to $5500.
From 1 December, an existing ban on advertising betting enticements, including credit and reward schemes, is being stretched to cover a much larger range of these types of schemes that are designed to draw in punters.
The changes will not affect online, live betting, which is being reviewed by former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell.
Marketing is skewed towards younger males, with ads depicting their favourite sporting stars watching a game and placing their bets, in an effort to encourage participation.
“The message was ‘betting is patriotic and entirely normal’,” Deakin University researched Samantha Thomas told Fairfax, with reference to a campaign featuring Socceroo Mark Schwarzer.
“It’s a step in the normalisation of betting among young men. They are shown in peer groups, and sports betting is being directly linked with common symbols surrounding the sport.”