Live-odds gambling advertising and consumer protection [open-access article].

Abstract: In-play gambling is a recent innovation allowing gambling to occur during the course of a sporting event, rather than merely before play commences. For years, in-play gambling has been marketed in the UK via adverts displaying current betting odds during breaks in televised soccer, e.g., “England to score in the first 20 minutes, 4-to-1.” Previous research shows that this so-called “live-odds” advertising is skewed toward complex events with high profit margins which consumers do not evaluate rationally. Recent UK regulatory guidance on “impulsiveness and urgency,” aiming to enhance consumer protection around gambling advertising, states that gambling advertising should not “unduly pressure the audience to gamble.” We explored the frequency and content of live-odds advertising over the 2018 soccer World Cup, as a case study of the first major televised sporting event after the publication of this UK regulatory guidance. In total, 69 live-odds adverts were shown over 32 matches (M = 2.16 per-match), by five bookmakers. We identified two key features that made advertised bets appear more urgent than necessary. First, 39.1% of bets could be determined before the match ended. Second, 24.6% of bets showed a recent improvement in odds, including a 15.9% subset of “flash odds,” which were limited in both time and quantity. Advertised odds were again skewed toward complex events, with a qualitative trend toward greater complexity than at the previous World Cup. We believe that consumers should be protected against the targeted content of gambling advertising. Article available online

Reference: Newall, P.W.S., Thobhani, A., Walasek, L., & Meyer, C. (2019). Live-odds gambling advertising and consumer protection. PLoS ONE, 14(6): e0216876.


How gambling really works: Sports betting, pokies, casino games, wagering [open-access webinar].

Rob Wootton busts common myths about various gambling forms.
[From the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, a webinar for both clients and gambling services staff dispelling myths and explaining the true odds and current operating principles of various modes of gambling.]
Webinar available via YouTube

Reference: Wootton, R. (2019). How gambling really works: Sports betting, pokies, casino games, wagering . Melbourne: Victorian Responsible Gambling Association. Retrieved from

In-play betting, gambling severity, and other risks: A survey study of Spanish sports bettors [open access article]

Abstract: Fans watching live sport events, both mediated or in stadia, have witnessed an increase in sports betting products. Most of these products feature in-play betting, that is, the ability to bet on a game once it has started while watching it. In-play betting has raised many concerns among responsible gambling advocates due to its perceived relationship with problem gambling behaviour. This study explored the association between in-play betting and problem gambling. More specifically, the study examined how motives for consuming sport and how involved sports fans were in watching sport affected their gambling. Also, adjacent risk behaviours to in-play betting (such as consuming junk food and alcohol) during live sports betting were examined. Access full article

By Lopez-Gonzalez, H., Griffiths, M.D. & Estévez, A. (2018). Communication
and Sport.

“Impulsiveness and urgency:” Gambling advertising and the 2018 soccer World Cup [open access article]

Newall, P. W. S., Thobhani, A., Walasek, L., & Meyer, C. (2018).

Abstract: Recent guidance from the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority states that gambling adverts should not “unduly pressure the audience to gamble.” Live-odds adverts display current betting odds during breaks in televised soccer, e.g., “Kylian Mbappe to score next, 9-to-1.” In this preprint, it is argued that the 63 “live-odds” TV adverts shown over 32 matches by 5 bookmakers during the 2018 soccer World Cup do not comply with the regulator’s intentions. Live-odds were advertised as being inherently unstable. In total, 15 adverts showed a recent improvement in odds. Of these, 10 adverts were for “flash odds . . ., which means that if you’re not quick enough, they could be gone in a flash.” And 36 adverts were shown during the half-time break. There were common themes across bookmakers’ live-odds advertising, supporting previous studies on how live-odds adverts align with probabilistic cognitive illusions. We believe that sufficient evidence exists to justify banning live-odds adverts. Download full article

Gambling Sports Advertising: The influence of gender, junk food, and alcohol in sports betting adverts [open access article]

Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D., co-written with Dr. Hibai Lopez-Gonzalez. Psychology Today (October 2017)

According to a study that we recently published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction (link is external), sports betting adverts are encouraging gambling by associating betting behaviour with alcohol and junk food. We found that more than two-thirds (41%) of football betting adverts in the UK and Spain featured either alcohol or junk food in some way. The study – which is the first to investigate the use of alcohol and unhealthy food in gambling adverts – found that betting advertising appeared to capitalise on sentiments arising from the culture of sports viewing and gambling. Alcohol (particularly beer) was used to create an atmosphere of sentimental bonding between friends and sport, and was used when there was a particularly high number of characters in an advert. We reported an association between drinking alcohol in betting adverts and emotionally-charged sporting situations such as more frequent betting while viewing a football game, more goal celebrations, and greater satisfaction with the outcome of games or bets. Continue reading

Gambling Participation, Expenditure and Risk of Harm in Australia, 1997–1998 and 2010–2011

By Armstrong, A. R., Thomas, A., & Abbott, M.

Abstract: Gambling-related harm results primarily from financial losses. Internationally Australia continues to rank as the largest spending nation per capita on gambling products. This would suggest that Australian gamblers are at disproportionately high risk of harm despite almost two decades of industry scrutiny and regulation, and investment in research, treatment and education programs. However, declines in participation rates, per capita expenditure, household expenditure, national disposable income spent on gambling and problem gambling rates have been cited as evidence that fewer people are gambling, that gamblers are spending less, and that gambling safety in Australia has improved. The current study investigated these propositions using national population and accounts data, and statistics from Australia’s two population-representative gambling surveys conducted in 1997–1998 and 2010–2011. Despite a falling participation rate the study found no real change in the number of people gambling overall, and increasing numbers consuming casino table games, race wagering and sports betting. Further found were increases rather than decreases in average gambler expenditure, overall, and across most products, particularly electronic gaming machines (EGMs). Potentially risky levels of average expenditure were observed in both periods, overall and for race wagering, casino table gaming, and EGMs. Changes in the proportion of income spent on gambling suggest risks declined overall and for race wagering and casino table gaming, but increased for EGMs. Finally, while problem gambling statistics were not comparable between periods, the study found double the number of moderate risk gamblers previously estimated for 2010–2011 amongst the 2 million Australians found to have experienced one or more gambling-related problems. The findings have implications for public health policy and resourcing, and the way in which prevalence and expenditure statistics have been interpreted by researchers, government and industry in Australia and elsewhere.

Armstrong, A. R., Thomas, A., & Abbott, M. (2017). Gambling Participation, Expenditure and Risk of Harm in Australia, 1997–1998 and 2010–2011. Journal of Gambling Studies, 1–20.


Gambling among European professional athletes. Prevalence and associated factors

Background: In Europe, the prevalence of gambling disorders in the general population ranges from 0.15% to 6.6%. Professional Athletes (PAs) are known for having risk factors for addictive behaviors, such as young age or sensation seeking, though no study has yet tried to evaluate the prevalence of gambling and gambling disorders among this specific population. Objective: To estimate the prevalence of gambling, problematic or not, amongst European PAs. To explore the factors that are associated with gambling practice and gambling problems in PAs. Methods: A self-completion questionnaire was specifically designed for this study. The questionnaires were distributed by European Union Athletes to professional ice hockey, rugby, handball, basketball, football, indoor football, volleyball and cricket teams in Spain, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and the UK. Socio-demographic variables (age, sex, education, marital and parental status, sport, country of birth, and country of practice), variables linked to gambling (gambling habits, screening of gambling problems with the Lie/Bet questionnaire and gambling related cognitions) and impulsive behavior data (UPPS-Short Form questionnaire) were gathered. Results: 1,236 questionnaires were filled out. The percentage of PAs that had gambled at least once during the previous year was 56.6%. The prevalence of problem gambling, current or past, was 8.2%. A certain number of variables were associated with the gambling status. In particular, betting on one’s own team (OR = 4.1, CI95% [1.5–11.5]), betting online (OR = 2.9, CI95% [1.6–5.4]), gambling regularly (OR = 4.0, CI95% [2.1–7.6]) and having a high positive urgency score (OR = 1.5, CI95% [1.3–1.7]) were associated with gambling problems, current or past, among PAs. Conclusion: PAs are particularly exposed to both gambling and problem gambling.