A new study has revealed for the first time an increase in gambling advertising during television viewing and promotion of National Hockey League (NHL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) games in Canada.
The rapid analysis, conducted by the University of Bristol in partnership with Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News, examined gambling-related commercials on NHL and NBA broadcasts that aired on Ontario TV and television over a five-day period. The results were revealed in relation to the current situation, showing the prevalence of the issue and the need for more control.
The study revealed more than 4,100 gambling messages spread over just seven NHL and NBA games. The majority of gambling messages (93.9%) during the exposure period were clearly displayed in sports or in commercials. More than a fifth (21.6%) of all live broadcasts had a gambling logo or gambling references, according to the survey, and only a fraction – less than 3% – contained harm reduction or ageist messages. .
In one NBA game, between the Toronto Raptors and the Chicago Bulls, 799 gambling messages were found. Almost half (48%) of gambling marketers who entered social media ignored important national marketing rules.
Lead researcher Dr Jamie Wheaton, Research Assistant at the University of Bristol, said: “The number of gambling adverts shown at NHL and NBA games shows that they cannot escape. Audiences, including children, are exposed to highly visible logos, and broadcasts of studio dedicated mainly to sports betting.
“This puts the risk of gambling as part of the game, without acknowledging the dangers of gambling.”
During the TV viewing period, a total of 3,537 gambling messages were recorded during the game broadcast on TV in almost 21 hours over five days between 25 and 29 October last year.
“The total time of gambling messages shown on TV amounted to 39.8 minutes per game, including studio interviews. In other words, every hour of broadcast included about 13 minutes that contained a gambling message,” Dr Wheaton added.
The videos were shown to have many sports betting markets, which appeared on the screen during the sports commentary. TV presenters also discussed statistics about the most important players in the game, which can be used by viewers to influence and optimize their bets.
One leading expert, Dr Raffaello Rossi, Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Bristol Business School, said: “Incorporating sports betting discussions is very difficult, as it blurs the line between media content and advertising. This can make the visual betting more unusual – and harmless – part of the game.
“It’s very worrying, as many children and vulnerable groups watch NHL and NBA games.”
The findings show only 2.6% of gambling messages on broadcast sports contained a harm reduction message, while only 2.8% of gambling messages contained age restriction messages.
The study included the broadcast of two NBL and five NHL games in Ontario, as well as analyzing 10 licensed gambling accounts. It used samples from previous research in the UK, which also found that gambling messages had a significant impact on Premier League football.
Research in Canada has also shown the growing potential of social media to reach a wider audience. Almost half (48%) of social media ads were not properly identified as advertising, which violates the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards. Almost all (98%) of those shown in the ad were male, with four out of five (79%) aged 18-34.
“Our research shows a serious problem in the advertising of gambling on social networks, especially the advertising of products. There is a need to strengthen the law to protect consumers – especially children, who are at great risk of such fraudulent advertising methods,” added Dr Rossi.
Commenting on the gambling laws in Canada, Dr Wheaton said: “We believe that the current laws in Ontario do not have the power to effectively control the amount and type of gambling found within these games. Legislation needs to go further to ensure that people are protected from gambling. “
The report emphasizes the urgent need for international cooperation to help tackle the problem, exacerbated by the rise of online gambling platforms.
Dr. Rossi said: “In contrast to the strict laws in provinces with many years of online betting, Ontario’s laws seem to be lax. This poses a serious problem, as the gambling industry, with giants like FanDuel, Betfair and Skybet, being part of a large multi-national multi-stakeholder partnership.
“Contradicting their knowledge and new laws is impossible. Therefore we need to connect with the forces and promote international cooperation to better regulate betting.”
Last year, the University of Bristol established the Bristol Hub for Gambling Harms Research to lead pioneering multidisciplinary research into the consequences of gambling.
The independent center supports world-leading research to better understand problem gambling as a growing public health problem that needs to be addressed and addressed.