It is time to rid our TVs, scoreboards and commentary of those incessant sports betting ads.
If people want to bet on a game that’s fine, but from whistle to whistle I want to focus on the game not the odds.
What’s more, I can’t see how it’s good for kids to have the odds integrated into the broadcast or commentary during a game. I get a little worried when I hear kids quoting the odds.
Parliament is currently looking at this matter. I’m involved in the inquiry and I’ve heard that since 2006, there has been a 230 per cent increase in online sports betting. The industry is expected to grab 38 per cent of Australian gambling revenue in a few years. Not surprising really - you can now use a Smartphone to place a bet anywhere, any time on just about anything.
It’s why the number of problem gamblers with problems from their sports betting is rising rapidly, and is now about 15-20 per cent of those presenting to the Sydney Uni Gambling Treatment Clinic.
I have yet to meet anyone who likes the advertising of betting during sports games.
I understand that sport has become big business and increasingly a highly commercialised operation.
But unlike horse racing, it is not yet the norm that everyone who walks through the gate is expected to place a bet. It’s not yet a fixed part of the culture of watching cricket, basketball, or any of the footy codes. This could change. Is this what we want for the future of our sports?
The question in my mind is this: should the sports codes cut the ads voluntarily or should the Government ban the broadcast during games?
I’d like to hear your thoughts.
Stephen Jones is the Federal Member for Throsby.