Not that they have the most sparkling reputations anyways, but online betting companies have been slammed for encouraging youngsters to vote on Triple J’s Hottest 100.
The station’s manager, Chris Scaddan, called the ads “concerning” as it was encouraging its youth audience – many who were financially vulnerable anyway – to dabble in gambling.
The annual song-fest is voted on by Triple J listeners with the results revealed next Tuesday on Australia Day.
Betting firms Ladbrokes, Sportsbet and Tom Waterhouse are all offering odds on the list with Kendrick Lamar’s King Kunta ($2-1), Major Lazer and DJ Snake’s Lean On ($3-1) and The Rubens Hoops ($3.50-1) the current favourites amongst the punters. It is believed much of the advertising has been done through social media sites such as Facebook.
Writing on Triple J’s website Hack Scaddan said: “It is concerning that gambling companies are aiming directly at Triple J listeners. We cater to a young audience, an audience that is at a very vulnerable point of their lives financially.
“We don’t encourage people to bet on the Hottest 100. If you’ve got some spare money, you should donate it to our partner charity, the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience.
“We can guarantee you that that will go to a positive cause. It’ll make you feel better about yourself than betting on the Hottest 100 will.”
Scaddan believed targeting young people could be their first bet and lead into many; however, he added that “we think the majority of Triple J listeners are smart enough to see through campaigns like this.”
However, this afternoon Sportsbet issued a media statement via its head of communications, Ben Hawes, that said reports it had targeted underage gamblers was wrong. The statement made the following points:
The existing extensive regulatory framework around gambling advertising across Australia ensures that advertising of gambling services does not directly expose minors to gambling activity, whilst balancing the legal right of licensed Australian wagering companies to advertise their services in a socially responsible manner.
- The Triple J Hottest 100 advertisement on Facebook seen by Triple J would not have been seen by persons under the age of 18 and would not have been displayed in a ‘non-logged in environment’. Anyone with Facebook aged under 18 would not have seen this ad
- Our Facebook and Twitter pages are age-gated – were the first wagering company in Australia to do this
- If our content is shared, or liked by a member of the public, this content is still only served to those who are 18+ in their network
- In addition, Sportsbet is not aware of any evidence that indicates the availability of promotional offers to customers encourages or has increased the prevalence of problem gambling. The Productivity Commission found that making these types of offers to new customers is not necessarily harmful and that it merely promotes a competitive market.
- Last year Peking Duck’s High was the favourite to win with Sportsbet and punters – it didn’t win!
Please note this article has been updated.