In the universe of television and digital sports broadcasting, more and more commercials are now promoting online sports betting platforms.
There are many gambling ads, often featuring big names in professional sports. Some even appear during the actual games and not just during the commercial breaks.
Hockey analyst Craig Eagles suggests this is an example of how sports, television and fan interaction have changed.
“Growing up, we always had the friendly bet on our favorite hockey clubs and our favorite baseball teams,” Eagles said. “That has certainly changed. It changed the landscape of the sport.”
When the federal government’s ban on single-game sports betting was lifted last year, it not only opened up new avenues for Canadians to gamble, it also enabled TV networks and some social channels to generate new large revenue streams from the actual gambling establishments.
Eagles said the commercials are likely to be massive moneymakers for TV networks. He added that some ads on national television are promoting gambling platforms that are not yet available in the Maritimes, but he expects the gambling market to open up even more soon.
“You can’t bet on individual games or anything like that here in Atlanta, Canada,” Eagles said. “You can do that in Ontario, and there’s a niche market here that maritime governments could expand if they so wish. So.”
Psychologist Simon Sherry said these ads are usually effective at attracting potential players.
“Advertising gambling works,” Sherry said. “Exposure to gambling ads changes attitudes, intentions and ultimately behaviors. In other words, there is a dose-response relationship between your exposure to gambling advertising and actual gambling.”
The gambling ads also help raise the issue of addiction and unhealthy leisure activities.
Could the proliferation of these commercials and online betting platforms lead to an increase in gambling addicts?
“Some problem gambling is determined by availability,” Sherry said. “If you make gambling more accessible to a population, more people will become problem gamblers.”
Sherry said that given the risks, Canadians must decide how available they want to make sports betting.