With sports gambling losses in Australia more than doubling in just five years, addiction rises in line with increased celebrity advertising campaigns by sports betting operators.
Now that online sports betting has really exploded on the scene, it is far too easy for punters to have a bet, especially when they are tempted to do so by a huge upsurge in sporting celebrities being used to advertise the betting side of the games. Commentators are bombarding television and online viewers with up to the minute odds as well as any promotions that are available during games.
With smart phone technology racing ahead and providing gamblers even easier access to bets on all manner of sporting events along with a similar rise in betting providers, gamblers are just a touch of a button away from placing bets. With access via smart phone or Internet connected laptops, netbooks and now the iPad and its clones to no less than 2319 websites that take bets, betting has reached an all time high.
A leading psychologist, Alex Blaszczynski claims he is treating ever more addicts to sports betting and has called for a concerted effort to crack down on the way sports gambling is advertised and marketed. He sees the sports stars who are role models to children and adults alike that are being used in gambling ads as an underhand tactic by advertisers and the gambling industry as a whole. His concerns are that cases of problem gambling related to sports betting will rise over the next several years.
It has been estimated that this year, Australian gamblers will lose as much as $611 million to online sports betting sites. This figure is well up from the 2006 tally of $264 million according to statistics gathered by Global Betting and Gaming Consultants. That is only the online gambling total, as the figure for all sports betting will be much higher when bets placed via the phone or TAB outlets are taken into consideration.
Gamblers Anonymous and Relationships Australia fear a new trend that is growing with problem sports betting. Concerns over addiction grow as match fixing has become as great a challenge to the integrity of sport as doping already is.
According to Penny Gillespie of Mission Australia, there are also great concerns over the way children are exposed to the relationship that betting has with sports. With celebrities endorsing sports betting, the message being picked up by children is that you can’t enjoy sports without having a bet. They grow up linking sports and gambling and when they become adults, they see nothing wrong with it.