Sports betting marketing during sporting events: a stadium and broadcast census of Australian Football League matches
Objective: Using Australian Football League (AFL) matches as a case study, we investigated the frequency, length and content of marketing strategies for sports betting during two specific settings: 1) at stadiums during four live matches; and 2) during eight televised broadcasts of matches. Methods: Census of sports betting marketing during Round 12 of the 2011 AFL premiership season. Results: Per match, there was an average of 58.5 episodes (median 49.5, s.d 27.8) and 341.1 minutes (median 324.1 minutes and s.d 44.5) of sports betting marketing at stadiums, and 50.5 episodes (median 53.5, s.d 45.2) and 4.8 minutes (median 5.0 minutes, s.d 4.0) during televised broadcasts. A diverse range of marketing techniques were used to: a) embed sports betting within the game; b) align sports betting with fans' overall experience of the game; and c) encourage individuals to bet live during the game. There were very few visible or audible messages (such as responsible gambling or Gambler's Help messages) to counter-frame the overwhelmingly positive messages that individuals received about sports betting during the match. Conclusions and Implications: This study raises important questions about the impacts of saturation, integrated and impulse gambling marketing strategies in sporting matches. Future research should explore: 1) how wagering industry marketing strategies may affect the attitudes and behaviours of community sub-groups (e.g. young male sports fans, and children); and 2) which public health and policy strategies, including regulation and harm minimisation messaging, will be effective in responding to wagering industry marketing strategies during sporting matches.