Australian ads watchdog raps Sportsbet for linking gambling to sexual success

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Ad Standards found that Sportsbet has breached industry standards.

Australia.- Sportsbet, one of the largest sports wagering companies in Australia, has been found to have breached industry advertising standards. Ad Standards, which manages the complaint resolution process for advertising self-regulation system in Australia, said an advertisement that suggested gambling could make men more attractive and lead to sexual success

The ad aired during a football game implied that a man who won a multi-bet wager became more attractive. It showed a shabbily dressed man on a couch transform into a well-dressed man in a tuxedo with a crowd cheering for him. A voiceover states “feels like you’ve finally made it”.

A viewer complained that the ad used a dangerous narrative of players being “just one bet away” from winning big. The Ad Standards panel found that while the ad did not state or imply a promise of winning, it did create an impression that gambling “could result in enhanced attractiveness and an improvement in self-image”. 

The panel concluded that the ad breached the industry’s wagering code by implying a link between wagering and sexual success or enhanced attractiveness. 

This is not the first time Ad Standards has questioned Sportsbet advertising. Back in 2019, the Australian gaming operator was forced to halt an advertising campaign for a new mobile sports betting app after regulators ruled the app was sexist.

Gambling advertising is under scrutiny in Australia. In April, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) issued a warning to the sports streaming service Kayo for showing gambling ads outside of permitted hours. The regulator found the company had contravened rules by showing gambling ads during the May 2022 Fremantle V Collingwood AFL match.

A report from the Australian Gambling Research Centre at the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) also revealed a strong link between exposure to betting advertising and riskier gambling behaviour

The survey of 1,765 people found that 78 per cent of Australian adults had seen or heard sports and/or race betting advertising at least once a week in the past 12 months, with two in five (41 per cent) being exposed four or more times a week.

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