Australian gambling addicts targeted by betting sites

It has been revealed that gamblers who were searching online for help with their addiction have been targeted by gambling advertising. The users, based across Australia were using the Microsoft-owned search engine Bing and searching for terms such as ‘gambling treatment,’ ‘gambling help’ and ‘gambling helpline.’ These terms resulted in sponsored adverts appearing from various online betting sites and clearly violating the country’s advertising standards.

Professor of gambling and social determinants unit at Monash University, Charles Livingstone had this to say about the findings:

“The placement of this advertising is completely inappropriate and it is concerning that gambling advertisements are being promoted to potentially vulnerable persons who are seeking help. If you want to stop new recruits being drummed up by these operators, we need to think about where they are coming from, and how they are being kept there.”

He also added that tighter regulation of online gambling advertising was a ‘no-brainer’ but it is a big problem as in Australia in 2021 alone  $287.2 million was spent by the gambling industry on advertising.

This sort of incident is unfortunately not a one-off as over the years several betting companies have been caught up in similar advertising scandals. It seems that search engines and betting companies will have to work together to adhere to advertising regulations and monitor online adverts.

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