Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Tuesday: Why can't my kids watch sport without the gambling?

Over the last couple of years there has been a huge increase in the amount of gambling information that is provided during sports coverage on Australian television.

There has been an ever increasing blurring of the lines between where the commentary stops and the gambling coverage begins. Major networks are now getting the sports commentators to provide gambling odds throughout their commentary. This is something you would never have seen 5 years ago.

Image from morgueFile
As a mother of two young children I want this constant barrage to be more actively controlled than is currently the case.

I don't want to shelter my children and pretend that gambling doesn't exist. Gambling has always existed and every now and then it can be fun to have a punt on sport eg. the annual bet on the Melbourne Cup, having a bet on whether your team will win the championship at the end of the year.


I want my children to understand that you can watch sport for the sheer enjoyment of seeing skilled athletes at the peak of their prowess. I want my children to understand that you don't have to gamble to enjoy sport.

I do believe that as a parent it is ultimately my responsibility to ensure my children get a healthy understanding of gambling. I need to teach them that what seems like fun can become a serious problem for some people.

I need to teach them that you should never gamble more than you can afford to lose.  I want them to understand that you are far more likely to lose everything you own by gambling rather than win a fortune.

The following clip is from Today Tonight. This is a TV show that is on a rival network to most of the gambling issues. The comments from the Greens politician are very valid though.

Australians have always loved a gamble but recently the new types of advertisements have taken it to a whole new level which I personally believe sends the wrong message to children.

I don't want my children to be able tell me the odds of a player scoring the first try. I don't want my children to know the names of online bookies because they see them advertised so often.

Kids are growing up faster then in previous generations. As a parent you can't protect them from gambling like you could in the past.

I have no problem with the adverts being shown in the commercial breaks where I can explain the context around them. I understand that the gambling companies are a business who should be allowed to advertise something that is legal.

All I ask is that during the actual game coverage there are no commentators constantly telling us the odds. I want no crosses to bookmakers telling us the odds and where to go to place a bet. I just want to spend time as a family watching sport.

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