Young people's exposure to gambling advertisements: a mixed methods study in Australia.
The evidence surrounding the impact of gambling advertising on young people’s gambling attitudes and behaviours has significantly increased over the past few years. Governments have been concerned about this exposure and have begun to implement restrictions that aim to limit young people’s exposure to gambling advertising, particularly during sport. However, there has been little research that has examined the places that young people see gambling advertisements, and how effective new restrictions that are predominately associated with commercial television, may be at reducing exposure to gambling advertisements and the potential for gambling harm.
A mixed methods study was conducted with 111 young people (aged 11-16 years), who were self-reported fans of basketball in Victoria, Australia. An interview assisted survey was administered to participants at local basketball stadiums. The study collected data relating to media viewing, recall and awareness of the timing, placement, and content of gambling advertisements, awareness of advertising during restricted timeslots, and attitudes towards the role of sporting organisations in the promotion of gambling to young people.
There were four key findings from this study. The first was that over 90% of young people could recall seeing gambling advertising on television, predominately during sporting events. Second, although television was the most common place, there was a significant amount of gambling advertisements recalled on newer platforms such as social media, and YouTube. Third, this study identified that young people are still seeing gambling advertising despite regulations as young people most commonly saw gambling advertisements before 8 30pm. Young people also identified that they would continue to watch sport after 8 30pm, which is when regulations in Australia end. Lastly, young people had strong opinions that there were too many gambling advertisements during sport and that sporting organisations had a role to play in reducing young people’s exposure to this potentially harmful product.
Governments have identified that there is a need for regulation that protects against young people’s exposure to gambling advertising. However, this study has identified that current regulatory frameworks in Australia have not gone far enough. There are still many ways that young people are being exposed to gambling advertising, including social media, a significantly under researched area. There is a need for governments to take further action, and close the current loopholes in regulation to ensure that promotions that may encourage young people’s interest and involvement in gambling are reduced