Australian Gambling, Sports Betting Ads, Promos Cop Heat, by Greg Tingle - 18th December 2010

G'day casino and gambling millionaires, billionaires, media moguls, sports nuts, entertainment news junkies, insiders, outsiders, politicians, journalists and everyone else. Today we probe the proliferation of sports betting, casino and gambling mentions and themes in the Australian media, sports and entertainment business. Network Nine and the cricket were quick off the mark via television, followed by the likes of Fox Sports, Centrebet, and now OneHD and Network Ten, the 'Warnie' show and a bush tucker bag of website portals are picking up the ball and running with it, in a way we think WikiLeaks would be proud of. Even News Limited and Fairfax Media newspapers are running tons of ads, promos and news stories are a plenty. Media Man and Gambling911 play media monitor and trace route investigator, and hit 'em for six with this very special and rather clever report...

How's the cricket been treating you recently? The Ashes has sure been good to media companies and punters who like to... well, get on the punt. Australia's fantastic sports coverage is helping get the word out on sports betting and gambling.

A number of special interests groups, campaigners, bible bashers and even a couple of medical types are jumping on the anti gambling bandwagon, and the strong gambling coverage tied in with cricket and other sports well positioned in the Australian media seems to be adding fuel to the fire, as we head towards a perfect storm.

One group, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, advised it has been "alarmed" at the rise in gambling ads, promos, as well as frequent references to sports betting odds, in televised sport and particularly the cricket that us Aussies love so much. The cricket is something both Nine boss David Gyngell and Ten and Crown Limited bigwig James Packer, are both fighting over, and we think the sports betting aspect is something that keeps the cricket so appealing to media tycoons - and its not just the modest TV ratings that go with the game if you follow our lead.

It's been debated that any cases of sports betting odds come with a warning to emphasise and make the potential punters aware of the dangers of excessive gambling as well as a helpline for existing addicts to call.

RANZCP president Dr Maria Tomasic was prepared to go on record with "Problem gambling is a real concern in our community. (Yet) there has been little public debate about the introduction of gambling advertising on sports programs, particularly during the day when children may be watching. Frequent exposure to gambling promotion, gambling's association with sport, and the use of commentators and sporting role models to promote gambling and discuss betting odds, can normalise gambling and influence vulnerable people and children."

This particular college has advised sports betting problems were on the rise and reform was needed to promote more "responsible levels of gambling activity" to help minimise its harmful impact on the community. Their list includes: Showing helpline phone numbers whenever gambling odds are broadcast during live sporting events, providing clear warnings at all gambling venues which explain the possible harms that flow from excessive gambling, advice containing details on where to seek help, while more counselling services and other forms of help and the mathematical odds of winning in luck-of-the-draw style gambling should also be on clear display at gambling venues

A Media Man spokesperson said "We think some of the groups proposals do have some merit, but at the same time we need to help ensure proposals and guidelines don't contain overkill. All gambling and sports betting services have some sort of warning about the dangers of gambling. Do we really need the fun police everywhere. People know sports betting and gambling is just that, and not what you would call a business model for one's life financial planning or regular income. Granted, some people are very successful at making sports betting and gambling their main income, but that is the rare exception to the rule. It's hard to protect people from themselves. People need to just enjoy the experience and keep it fun, and not bet over their head".

Dr Clive Allcock, Member of RANZCP's Section of Addiction Psychiatry said "Problem gambling can result in divorce, suicidal thoughts and acts, illegal acts and bankruptcy. Those with gambling problems often also have other concerns, such as depression, hazardous alcohol use and smoking, and personality disorders."

The good doctor also said more research was also needed to develop evidence-based treatments for gambling addiction, as there was currently "not one treatment which is considered to be the best for problem gambling".

Gambing industry bigwigs like Aristocrat's Len Ainsworth said in regarding to problem gambling "A problem gambler is like a problem drinker or a serial killer; you've got to get to the cause".

Ainsworth's comments do have merit, but as is often the case with bright ideas, easier said than done. How do you get inside someone's head, how do you force them to change their ways. Oh, that's right. Let's see what Australia's 'Big Brother' Gillard Labor government can do. Perhaps that's why they are looking closely at biometrics. But, are such solutions the tip of the iceberg for something a whole lot more similar with previous Australian government proposals containing the likes of the 'Australia Card'.

Some of the most popular sports betting and gambling brands for Australia include:
Betfair, Centrebet, Gamebookers and BetUS (sports betting brands)
PartyGaming, PartyCasino, PartyPoker, Captain Cooks Casino, 888, PKR and World Poker Tour (gambling and poker brands)

Some sports that are currently seeing an increase in betting interest include motorsport (F1 and V8 SuperCars), professional surfing, boxing, wrestling and UFC. The AFL, NRL, tennis and soccer continue to maintain their incredible popularity.

Australian media and gambling tycoon, James Packer, appears to be best positioned to lead Australia into the future of sports betting and gambling, with his 50% ownership in Betfair, ruling Crown Limited - Crown Casino (home to the Aussie Millions) and stake in OneHD...an offshoot of Ten Network Holdings, commonly known to punters are Channel Ten. PartyGaming, listed on the London Stock Exchange, have also enjoyed strong success in Australia and the wider Asia Pacific region, teaming up with mainstream media and entertainment industry brands such as Marvel Entertainment, Sony, Fremantle Media and Paramount Pictures. News Corp's 20th Century Fox is also understood to be wanting to become heavily involved in the Australian gambling landscape, as they are in the United Kingdom. Media and entertainment portals such as Google, Media Man and Yahoo! all appear to be continuing to ramping up their coverage of gambling and sports betting, catering to an international audience via the internet...ideally suited to covering the dynamic nature of the gambling sector.

Whatever the final outcome aka Australian government 'The Final Solution' is, don't get too used to the current Australian gambling and sports betting landscape, and significant changes are just around the corner.

If you enjoy a bet, please do so in a responsible matter, and if you think your gambling may be getting out of hand, please seek professional assistance.


Last month was a big month for casino awards. Let's have a look...

PartyGaming's PartyCasino has also come back with seconds, picking up another Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month Award' for November, and also the parent company, PartyGaming, picked up the prestigious EGR Slots Operator Of The Year Award ...Some other top picks of ours who picked up awards at the EGR night of nights were:
Virgin Games (Affiliate Programme)
Betfair (Innovation, Mobile Operator and UK Sports Betting Operator)
Bwin (European Sports Betting Operator
PKR (Poker Operator)

Oh, we almost forgot...Media Man and Casino News Media 'Casino Babe Of The Month': Jenny Woo, 'Poker Babe': Kara Scott, 'Gambling Babe Personality': Pamela Anderson.

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Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report on gambling in the Australian media? Tell us in the forum.

If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis. They also publish Australian Sports Entertainment http://www.australiansportsentertainment.com

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited, Ten Network Holdings and Virgin

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