A group of Australian activists are campaigning to ban sports betting advertising due to the rise in online gambling rates during COVID-19.
COVID-19 and participation
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a few national lockdowns in Australia; the restrictions have merely been a tool to limit the spread of the virus and to maintain public safety. As a result of this, more people have been staying at home and finding new ways to stay entertained.
The relationship between COVID-19 and rising online gambling participation rates have not come as a shock to many Australians. This is because many foreign sports betting operators have been taking advantage of the situation surrounding the restrictions and advertising online gambling as an activity to relieve boredom and fill up some spare time.
A study conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies found that around 2,000 Australians created and engaged with new online gambling accounts during the pandemic. Startling figures show that the number of people who regularly gambled more than four times per week increased to 32% from 23%.
Increase in market value
As a result of the increased participation rates, various sports betting operators have watched their market value soar. Flutter Entertainment, the umbrella owner of Sportsbet, gained around AU$30bn (£16.5bn) during the pandemic. Gambling giant Entain also gained AU$8bn (£4.4bn).
The rise in online gambling has resulted in various Australian activists and campaigners calling for a ban on sports betting advertising. This isn’t new; there have been various campaigns rolled out to put an end to advertising the industry. Anti-gambling advocates from the Alliance for Gambling Reform say that more needs to be done to protect Aussies at a community and federal level. Affiliates should stay aware of the current situation surrounding sports betting advertising in Australia and stay mindful of the rising participation rates.