According to Gambling News, the cost of TV ads for online gambling has been exponentially increasing over the last year – from $292 Million in 2020 to $725 million in 2021.
In a growing number of states , gambling operators are starting to compete for market share, with bookmakers like DraftKings, FanDuel, MGM Resorts International, and Caesars Entertainment leading the way. These companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing that includes commercials featuring celebrities, billboards, podcasts, and sports team sponsorships.
While some groups claim that these advertisements shouldn’t be considered any different from other industries, some problem gambling experts have voiced a growing concern over the increase. And some countries are following suit – Italy, Australia, and the U.K. have all started placing restrictions on gambling ads to help prevent an increase in problem gambling.
Problem gambling can impact individuals everywhere, regardless of age, gender, race, and beyond. And unfortunately, gambling advertisements don’t always speak to the risks that come with it or show ways to participate responsibly. The ads can also trigger an individual who is recovering from a problem with gambling.
“Advertising is a powerful force in our society,” Christina Marriott, Chief Executive of Royal Society for Public Health, told Algamus Gambling Treatment Services. “It not only influences what we buy, but it also tells us what is normal and what we should aspire to. We no longer allow airtime to other products which harm our health, like tobacco products, gambling should be no different.”
“The influx of ads creates a culture where gambling is normalized, “Eric Weber, senior clinician at Caron Treatment Centers, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We need to take a hard look at this issue now before it gets even more out of hand, take additional mitigation measures, and protect the vulnerable in our communities from the siren call of gambling.”
Only time will tell how the U.S. responds to gambling advertising. But if you think you or a loved one might be struggling with a problem with gambling, there are resources available on BeforeYouBet.org. Resources include a two-minute quiz to assess risks for problem gambling, the warning signs and risks of problem gambling, and educational resources.
The free and confidential helpline is also accessible 24/7 by calling 1-800-589-9966 or by texting 4HOPE to 741741.