A quirky new responsible gambling campaign in New South Wales aims to educate young Australian men on how to avoid the potential pitfalls of sports betting.
On Thursday, NSW Government Minister for Racing Paul Toole unveiled the new Betiquette campaign, which targets male bettors between the ages of 18 and 35, based on statistics showing 90% of Aussie online sports bettors are men with an average of 31 years.
Toole said the campaign “tackles a serious problem in a lighthearted way” in order to give it a better shot of reaching its target audience. The campaign, which is funded by the Responsible Gambling Fund, will run ads on radio, websites, social media and in licensed venues during major sports and racing events.
The campaign is framed as a style guide, offering such suggestions as setting a cash limit on betting lest you spend money budgeted for other activities, accompanied by a graphic of a man waving goodbye to his swimsuit-clad friends as they sail away on a cruise.
Bettors are urged to “outsmart your smartphone” by switching off “mosquito-like bonus bet alerts and notifications,” and since bettors are “always looking to increase your chances of getting lucky,” they need to “pay attention to your date, not your multi.”
Betiquette also includes a list of risk factors for betting-related gambling harm, a quiz to determine your risk profile, a calculator to determine the impact of gambling on your lifestyle and links to counselling services for bettors as well as tools for their families and friends.
Naturally, none of this is good enough for the reliable scolds at the Alliance for Gambling Reform, who usually focus their ire on the nation’s ubiquitous video poker machines. Alliance spokesman Tim Costello said it was “reprehensible to take a light-hearted approach to the deluge of gambling in NSW when sports betting is still illegal in the US.”
Honestly, Costello’s suggestion that America’s woefully ineffective prohibition of sports betting outside Nevada is the model for the world to emulate is as asinine as UK Labour MP Tom Watson’s recent suggestion that betting was as harmful as smoking.
But let’s take Costello at his word, and suggest that Australia should emulate other American policies, like its cherished Second Amendment. Australia imposed serious gun control legislation following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, and gun deaths have since fallen from around 700 per year to around 200. America had over 15,000 gun deaths last year. So is America still your shining city on the hill, Tim?
But hey… If you won’t listen to us, listen to one of your countrymen.