I dunno how they take those hits. But I do know suckers
“I don’t know how they take those hits and keep going. I don’t know how they take the big marks. And I really don’t know what I’m doing standing here on the home turn at Flemington while a herd of thoroughbreds thunders towards me.
“But I do know what punters want. You want to bet with a nice, clean-cut handsome young bloke who doesn’t look like one of the gnarled old bookies of yesteryear with a pork pie hat and an old-school leather satchel…”
Ahem. We interrupt this crudely paraphrased Tom Waterhouse ad to bring you news of the glamourisation of the sports betting industry, a clever marketing trend which is making gambling ever more appealing to the impressionable young.
The bookies of yesteryear now seem like seedy tiled pubs with soggy beer mats. Today’s breed are like hip, small bars with martinis and craft beers. You can spend every cent with them and not wake up on Monday morning feeling irreversibly sordid. In fact, you’ll probably want to do it all again next weekend.
If you watch sport on TV, there is no avoiding the new breed of bookie. If it’s not Tom Waterhouse, it’s that bubbly vivacious blonde Jaimee Rodgers spruiking the wonders of the TAB Sportsbet live markets.
Then horror of horrors! Who should bob up on our screens during the ad breaks in the footy? None other than Samuel L. Jackson, aka the coolest dude ever to set foot on the earth, or on a plane with snakes, or anywhere really.
Jackson must surely earn enough to buy diamond tipped fries to enjoy alongside his Big Kahuna burgers, yet there he is as the face of some punting outfit called Bet365.
Let’s revisit his famous Pulp Fiction monologue to see how it stacks up alongside his urging the average Aussie to blow their wages on the Fremantle Dockers this weekend.
“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children…”
See, now isn’t Jules doing the exact opposite of this in these ads? Anyway, back to the monologue…
“And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know My name is the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon thee.”
The point of all this is that Mr L Jackson is the kinda dude who can influence young Australians. The guy is about as cool as cool gets. If he says something’s cool, people will listen. Imagine a cigarette ad where, I don’t know, Lady Gaga or somebody said woohoo, smoke this. Same deal.
Of course, we haven’t had ciggie ads for years and indeed we soon won’t have ciggies with any branding whatsoever. Yet the sports bookies are free to sex it up to the max. As the old advertising adage goes, they’re selling the sizzle, not the sausage.
There is of course the argument that the nanny state has poked its nose into enough corners of our life. If people are going to bet, they’re going to bet. Let suckers be suckers. That’s the classic libertarian line and it has some merit.
The flipside is that the nanny state seems to poke its nose everywhere but where it’s needed. Less people smoke than ever before, drink driving is down, yet still the well-funded lobby groups maintain their antipathy towards alcohol, tobacco and the pokies.
Bugger all research has been done on sports betting addiction, but this much you can bet on.
Most young people aren’t interested in the pokies. They bet on racing and sports via their smartphones, which means they don’t have to duck off to some dark dingy sealed-off room to feed the habit.
They have betting accounts with companies they feel an affinity with, like that Tom Slaughterhouse or whatever his name is.
I don’t know how those boofy rugby league players take the big hits either. And I really don’t know how a new generation of gamblers will take the hits to their bank balance.
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