‘Weighing up the Odds’: Young men, sports and betting

Family wellbeing
Wednesday 25 July, 1400 – 1420


Rebecca Jenkinson
Australian Institute of Family Studies

Purpose: Sports betting has grown substantially in recent years and is emerging as a significant contributor to gambling-related harms, especially among younger adult males. This project aimed to improve understanding of the gambling attitudes, motivations and behaviours of young men who watch or play sports. Methods: A mixed-methods Victorian-based study involving semi-structured qualitative interviews (n=25) and an online survey (n=335) with young men aged 18-35 years. Key findings: Findings suggest that sports betting has become normalised among young men who are engaged with sports, often facilitated by widespread wagering marketing, offers of promotions and other inducements, 24-hour online access to betting, and both informal and formal peer-betting networks. Participants commonly reported having multiple online betting accounts, and betting regularly on a range of different national and international sports. Many participants planned their betting in advance but unplanned betting was also reported to be common, especially when alcohol had been consumed. While most identified strategies for trying to control the amount of money or time they spent betting on sports, negative impacts on health and wellbeing were also reported, particularly related to mood and confidence. Conclusions: Further research should explore the demographic and behavioural correlates of gambling-related harm among young male sports bettors, and policy and regulatory responses should address the widespread marketing and availability of sports betting products in order to minimise gambling-related harm in the community.