Photo: Jay Hynes
While you would have to be living under a rock not to have noticed all the gambling promotion these days, most of us probably find it nothing more than an annoyance. But what if you had grown up with the idea that betting on sport was completely normal and that everyone does it?
Those of us who grew up when gambling in sport wasn’t heavily promoted can distinguish between the ads and real life. But for teenagers today, the normalisation of gambling in sport reduces the perceived risks and actually makes betting seem an accepted part of participating in and enjoying sport.
This new reality comes as a surprise to many parents who are not aware, themselves, just what an influence gambling promotion is having on their children.
Our new campaign Love the game, not the odds aims to call this new normal out to parents and the community, so we are all able to talk to teenagers about the potential risks.
It’s important for parents not to feel blamed
Naturally parents tend to exclude their own children from any potential harm that comes from gambling. Especially when we don’t gamble much, it’s hard to imagine anyone else, let alone our own kids, being caught up in that kind of thing.
For teenagers today, the normalisation of gambling in sport reduces the perceived risks.
The challenge with our television commercial was making sure parents didn’t dismiss our message as not being relevant to them. So we featured a range of secondary school-aged teenagers using much of the betting language from the vernacular that now goes with watching sport.
By having teens recounting their love of the game this way, we are trying to strike a chord with parents who may recall hearing their own children say similar things, without realising what it might mean.
It’s very important that parents feel supported, rather than blamed, by this campaign. We chose the school setting as it reinforces the many outside influences beyond parents’ control.
Getting the conversation started
Helping teenagers love the game and not the odds is what this campaign is all about. We encourage parents and the community to visit our website lovethegame.vic.gov.au to find out how to protect young people from the risks of gambling. The website includes a quiz, which we hope will be a conversation starter.
We launched the campaign on 21 September with the help of the Hon. Marlene Kairouz, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, and players and parents from Ivanhoe Junior Football Club.
Watch the video of the launch: