February 12, 2024 3 min read

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Study Reveals the Dangers of Influencer Gambling Endorsements

Recent findings raised significant concerns regarding how celebrities can normalize gambling, setting a dangerous example for vulnerable youth

A new study funded by the Australian Research Council found that children as young as 12 expressed concerns about the impact of celebrity endorsements on promoting gambling as safe, attractive, and fun. Researchers from Deakin, Wollongong, and Curtin universities noted that the results highlighted the need for strict advertising restrictions to protect the next generation from potential gambling harm.

Children Noted That Influencers Hold Significant Sway

The research, which included interviews with 64 children from New South Wales and Victoria, found that influencers, including celebrities like former basketball player Shaquille O’Neal, were believed to make gambling more appealing to young audiences. The participants expressed the view that influencers on social media, particularly platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, had a significant impact on their peers.

Many participating youth were aware of the difference between advertisements and reality but expressed concern regarding the effects of gambling endorsements on their peers. A 15-year-old boy noted that some ads created the impression that gambling could lead to an improved lifestyle or appearance, potentially causing some individuals to try mimicking them.

I think you kind of get shown a bit of their lifestyle and think that if you can win like they are, then you can have that lifestyle that they’re living in the ads.

Australian Research Council study participant

While most children displayed some weariness regarding gambling, some of the younger participants admitted that their favorite celebrities could influence their decisions. One 12-year-old boy stated that if their favorite idol, YouTuber, Instagrammer, or TikToker were gambling, it would be a compelling enough reason to try.

Australia’s Gambling Woes Will Likely Continue

In light of these findings, the researchers emphasized the importance of implementing comprehensive advertising restrictions to protect young people from the potential harms associated with gambling. The study’s authors urged the federal government to consider the concerns raised by the children and take them seriously. These observations match the rising gambling addiction rates in the country, further highlighting this growing issue.

Dr Hannah Pitt, one of the study authors from Deakin University, emphasized the effectiveness of celebrity endorsements among younger audiences and the need to address the portrayal of gambling in a more balanced manner, showing both positives and potential harms. However, implementing such measures requires strong political will, which Australia often finds lacking.

They were concerned that young people would look up to these celebrities and make them believe that gambling was a normal thing to do.

Dr Hannah Pitt, Deakin University

Professor Samantha Thomas, another study author, highlighted the skepticism among young people regarding government action due to the perceived political influence of the gambling industry. January’s revelations regarding private discussions between the government and vested interest groups regarding the fate of gambling advertising bans cast further doubt that Australia can push through with its much-needed reforms.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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