Culture

These Fake Ads Are A Depressingly Accurate Pisstake Of Australia’s Gambling Problems

A message from BrokeLadsSports365.

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Hell yeah, mates, it’s racing season. It’s time to get together with the lads and yell at horses sprinting around the track, and repress the fact we quite frequently watch them fall over and die. Sink some piss. Buy a piece of fishing net for your head. Disable access to your savings account because you still need rent for next week. Bring on the Melbourne Cup!

As much as it’s hailed as a national institution, Australia’s premier racing carnival has also become emblematic of some of the country’s biggest problems over the years. It’s attracted continued criticism for its celebration of binge drinking, questionable animal welfare practices, and normalisation of gambling. Tabcorp is expecting to take in half a billion dollars over the course of the carnival. Odds are — whether you like a bet or not — you have an office sweep in the works.

Now, just in time for the Cup, Melbourne-based comedy group The Peleton (comprised of Tim McDonald, Nick Musgrove, Tom Peterson, Nick Russell and Vachel Spirason) is taking the piss out of Australia’s gambling problems more generally. In two short videos released over the weekend (and skyrocketing up Reddit), the group took aim at those betting ads you’ve been seeing an awful lot of within the past week or so. Labelled as “news ads from BrokeLadsSports365!”, the videos are hilarious… if not completely bleak and devastating.

“Have a look at this bloke, we’ve sucked him in with 100 bucks of bonus bets and a year on, he’s lost the house, the wife and the kids,” the voiceover in the second ad says. “He can either gamble his way out of it like a legend, or seek professional help like a big, fat softcock.”

It’s pretty well summed up with the last line: “Give us your cash, fuckheads.”

Of course, these types of ads aren’t limited to the Melbourne Cup or racing season. They’re a pretty solid staple of Australian TV and are closely tied to broader Australian culture.

According to the latest government reports, Australia spends around $22 billion on gambling per year — an average of around $1,200 per adult. Those numbers are around double that of countries like the UK, NZ and Canada. It’s big business, and plenty of companies are getting in on the action.

Thankfully, we seem to be increasingly re-negotiating what healthy behaviour looks like and the circumstances in which these companies are able to promote gambling. Earlier this year, betting ads were banned during live sporting events, and just this week a new online betting company, Neds, was forced to take down one of its ads that was seen as promoting excessive gambling. The ad features a group of tradies on a worksite, all too preoccupied with a betting site to do any work. The company’s slogan finished out the ad with “Neds, it’s time to bet.”

Moves like this are a good step in the right direction, but there’s still a lot out of bleak stuff out there to contend with. Each time you see a dumb betting ad this week, maybe use it as a reminder to check in on a friend who might need your help.


If gambling is becoming a problem in your life, you can contact the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 at any time. There are also forums and SMS services available online here.