Sports betting and young men

Content type
Commissioned report

July 2018


Rebecca Jenkinson, Megan Carroll, Cassandra de Lacy-Vawdon

Commissioning Body

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation

Download Commissioned report


The Weighing up the Odds study was commissioned by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. Its findings suggest that online and app-based sports betting has become normalised among young men who are regular viewers of sport.

Researchers conducted 25 interviews and surveyed 335 young men aged 18 to 35 to explore their gambling motivations, attitudes and behaviours.

The study found that young males who gambled weekly were significantly more likely to spend more on bets across more sports, use multiple online betting accounts, be motivated by boredom, and chase losses – all warning signs of harm.

Findings from the study could inform a range of policy and practical initiatives and help minimise the health, social and economic harms to affected individuals and communities. Recommendations include: limiting the availability of sports betting marketing; tailored and targeted health promotion messages built into sports betting platforms; and strategies to assist sporting organisations to phase out sponsorship arrangements with wagering operators.

Key messages

  • One quarter (23%) of bettors reported being under 18 when they first placed a bet on sports.

  • On average, participants reported betting on six different national and international sports during the previous 12 months. Half of participants bet at least weekly on sports.

  • Betting agency promotions were found to drive gambling uptake, with young men viewing those promotions as an appealing, low-risk or no-loss betting option.

  • The average participant had four different accounts with online wagering companies.

  • Alcohol featured prominently in betting behaviour, with 64% of young men saying they had bet on sports while drinking.

  • Of all young men who bet on sport, 70% were found to be at risk of, or already experiencing, gambling harm.


Jenkinson, R, de Lacy-Vawdon, C, Carroll, M 2018, Weighing up the odds: young men, sports and betting, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Melbourne.