Study suggests beer and junk food in betting adverts linked to increased wagers

By Harrison Sayers
A new study reported in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction suggests sports betting adverts are associating betting behaviour with alcohol and junk food to increase gambling activity and wager amounts.

The study suggests that by associating gambling with well-established moments of joy such as eating junk food, drinking beer or being with friends helps to encourage more active wagering.

Psychologists at Nottingham Trent University found that 41% of the 135 observed football betting adverts in the UK and Spain featured either alcohol or junk food, suggesting that whether or not the study is right some gambling marketers may consider the theory as truth.

Dr Hibai Lopez Gonzalez, lead author and postdoctoral researcher in Nottingham Trent University’s School of Social Sciences, said: “Sport is not something that people generally approach in a neutral manner – identities and a sense of belonging are essential to understand it. This is further amplified by the thrill experienced when watching live sports in which we have a personal involvement. The bottom line in our paper is that, if we put gambling, alcohol, and junk food together in the cocktail shaker, and then we add identities and emotions to it, we should be aware of what might come out of that.”

Mark Griffiths, Professor of Behavioural Addiction in Nottingham Trent University’s School of Social Sciences, added: “Nothing is really known about how betting advertisements might be associating gambling with other potentially risky behaviours. Betting advertising may be resorting to characters drinking alcohol, largely beer, to enhance the message of friendship bonding that is often associated with the enjoyment of sport.”

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