Sports betting and advertising

AGRC Discussion Paper No. 4 – November 2014

Sports betting promotions embedded into live and televised sport

  • Sports betting advertising and promotions have proliferated during televised sport.
  • Embedded sports betting promotions during sports broadcasts mean they cannot be avoided while watching a game.

Since 2009, sports betting promotions have been increasingly embedded into live and televised sporting events. Promotional techniques have included fixed advertising signage, dynamic advertising such as rotating and electronic banners, commercial break advertising, team sponsorship and integrated advertising incorporating live betting odds (Thomas, Lewis, Duong, & McLeod, 2012).

How much is gambling promoted during sport?

  • An audit of eight AFL match broadcasts in 2011 identified 50.5 marketing communications promoting seven wagering brands, totalling 4.8 minutes per match.
  • Four live AFL matches held at two major stadiums in 2011 promoted nine wagering brands during an average of 59 marketing communications.
  • An audit of two weeks of televised NRL and AFL programs in 2012 identified 72 gambling communications, mainly for corporate bookmakers, constituting 2.5% of broadcast time.

Source: Milner et al. (2013); Thomas, Lewis, Duong et al. (2012).

This embedded advertising can be particularly powerful because very little can be avoided by skipping through or muting advertisements and it is likely to evoke an emotional rather than rational response (Milner et al., 2013). Promotions occur at critical points when audiences are most attentive (e.g., when points are scored). Gambling logos on player uniforms and stadium signage are continuously displayed, sports betting operators have regular sponsored segments, and betting is promoted by celebrity presenters and match commentators. The message is that the excitement of watching the game is heightened by wagering on its contingencies and outcome (Milner et al., 2013).