The often “laddish” television adverts aired by online and land gambling groups in Australia have come under attack as being sexist by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, whose chief executive Serge Sardo claims standards have reached new lows and depict the feminine gender in disrespectful ways as sex objects or naggers.
Speaking to The Age newspaper over the weekend Sardo said that the some advertisements cross the line “between sexist to outright misogynistic.”
He gave as examples the Sportsbet parody of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” literary sensation, along with other ads that showed a man aggressively pushing his girlfriend’s face to the side during intimacy in order to listen to racing results, and one which included a reference to a woman performing a sexual act.
Sardo claimed that this sort of advertising could contribute to and reinforce a sexist culture that establishes negative stereotypes of women.
Approached by The Age for comment, the Advertising Standards Bureau reported that over the past five years there had been just seventeen complaints regarding the depiction of women in adverts…and only one of these had been upheld in terms of the Bureau’s strict code of conduct.
A spokesperson said that the Bureau carries out regular research into community perceptions in order to keep in line with public thinking, and that the research includes attitudes to the depiction of women in advertisements. The 2013 research showed that the Bureau’s decisions were largely compatible with community standards, she said.
Gambling trade association, the Australian Wagering Council told the newspaper that its members adhere to the Australian Association of National Advertisers’ code of ethics, which includes a provision that advertising should not employ sexual appeal in a manner which is exploitative and degrading of any individual or group of people”.
The Age reports that research by the Australian Gambling Research Centre showed that the value of Australian sports betting advertising quadrupled between 2010 and 2012.
Online gambling is again the focus of media and political attention in Australia after last week’s announcement that the government is to review the Interactive Gaming Act 2001 following a furore over in-play betting