However, it is not only the placement of sports betting advertisements within sports but the saturated nature of these promotions that has exacerbated a cultural alignment between betting and sports and the subsequent risks associated with betting. Constant saturation marketing, particularly during sporting matches and programmes, influenced participants’ beliefs that gambling had become a normal or common part of sports. This finding is similar to research conducted with children and adolescents reflecting that 75% of young people believed that gambling is a normal or common part of sports, based on the marketing for gambling products during sporting matches . This raises an important issue for policy makers and regulators in relation to the prevention of harm. ทางเข้า lsm While marketing for some forms of gambling (e.g. EGMs or “pokies”) is prohibited in Australia, marketing for sports betting continues with limited regulatory frameworks. Recognising the potential for harm, some countries, such as the UK, are now considering the prohibition of gambling promotions before the watershed (the point in time after which programmes with adult content may be broadcast), as part of a comprehensive suite of harm reduction strategies associated with sports betting products . In Australia, the state of Victoria is considering the restriction of betting promotions on public transport and infrastructure near schools . This study suggests that policies aiming to denormalise gambling as an inherent part of sports must consider significant restrictions on the volume of advertising during sports programmes, sporting matches, and within non-gambling environments at any time of the day.
The study indicates that there are specific marketing mechanisms that intensify the symbolic relationship between gambling and sports. We would argue that the endorsement of betting by sporting codes (particularly via sponsorship relationships) and broadcasters has a significant influence in betting becoming a meaningful part of the life of sports fans. In part, this is because endorsement by these agencies contributes to the removal of the negative social stigma once associated with betting, embedding it as a valuable social norm for the fans of sporting codes. Norms are regulated, in part, by the images and narratives created about sports betting by sporting codes and sporting commentary panels (often comprised of sporting heroes). McCracken  argues that celebrity endorsement has a powerful impact on products because, as compared to anonymous models, celebrities “deliver meanings of extra subtlety, depth, and power”. We would expand McCracken’s definitions of “celebrity” to sporting codes, which are able to provide powerful positive endorsements of gambling which may in turn (a) lead to harm and (b) help to facilitate the transfer of cultural meanings associated with betting products to the participants themselves. The endorsement by sports codes and commentators appeared to have the strongest influence on encouraging individuals to see sports through a “gambling lens”. Given the reported influence of these types of marketing by young men in our sample, and also from studies with children , we would argue that the embedding of commentary-based marketing in sports is clearly an issue that requires urgent consideration by governments and sporting authorities to prevent risk and the potential for harm.
The results also suggest that very specific forms of promotions, such as inducements and incentives, play a significant role in establishing betting on sports as part of consumer behaviour. These strategies must be of central focus in any regulatory efforts to prevent and reduce harm. Inducements and incentives minimised the perceptions of risk associated with sports betting, promoted feelings of control over the betting outcomes, and encouraged individuals to open more accounts with gambling companies and gamble more than they normally would, including on events on which they might not otherwise gamble. Even when participants acknowledged that these types of promotions were a clever marketing tactic that could increase the risks associated with gambling, they still had a strong influence over gambling consumption intentions. Inducements are not a new marketing phenomenon for the gambling industry and are used on a range of different gambling products to stimulate consumption . However, our research contributes to growing evidence about the significant influence that these types of marketing promotions may have in encouraging risky gambling behaviours. While other researchers have shown that advertising may be particularly influential in “impulse” gambling behaviours of problem gamblers , our study suggests that these inducements may also be influential in stimulating the gambling consumption patterns of young male sports gamblers with low and moderate levels of gambling problems. Given that research also suggests that promotions for inducements may have high recall amongst young people and may be influencing young people’s perceptions that gambling is a “risk free” activity , regulation is urgently needed to prohibit the marketing for these particularly influential types of promotions.