Addressing the Perils of Betting Advertisements to Our Youth

Nigerian youth population has been in bed with betting for a long time, that relationship is just coming to the fore and to the attention of the public in recent years.

“The most common question parents ask me is, ‘is social media safe for my kids’. The answer is that we don’t have enough evidence to say it’s safe, and in fact, there is growing evidence that social media use is associated with harm to young people’s mental health,”

– said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.

“Children are exposed to harmful content on social media, ranging from violent and sexual content, to bullying and harassment. And for too many children, social media use is compromising their sleep and valuable in-person time with family and friends. We are in the middle of a national youth mental health crisis, and I am concerned that social media is an important driver of that crisis – one that we must urgently address.”

The Allure of Betting: Advantages and Disadvantages

As a Chartered Marketer and an advocate of responsible advertising, I understand the power and influence that well-crafted marketing campaigns can have on consumers espe.cially young ones. My colleagues and I take pride in our ability to connect products and services with the right audiences, creating value for both businesses and customers. However, recent trends in advertising have raised significant concerns that must be urgently addressed. I am particularly troubled by the surge in betting and gaming advertisements during sports and entertainment events, a phenomenon that poses a grave danger to the health and well-being of our youth and their families. Some popular Radio stations like Nigeria Info FM, WAZOBIA FM , UFM and many other stations talk betting across all belts (Premier time and all) Whilst occasional warnings accompany the message, the repetitive nature of the commercial diminishes the accompanying warnings.

Betting and gaming, when approached responsibly, can offer certain benefits. For many, it provides a form of entertainment and an opportunity to engage more deeply with sports and other events. It can also generate substantial revenue for businesses and contribute to the economy through taxes and job creation. It has also provided financial upliftment for many patrons in the craft. Some Betting companies deserves commendation for their CSR initiatives that have benefited communities in states across the country.

However, these advantages are overshadowed by the considerable disadvantages, particularly for vulnerable groups such as our youth. Betting can quickly lead to addiction, financial ruin, and severe emotional distress. The illusion of easy money often draws individuals into a cycle of compulsion, leading to detrimental consequences for their mental health and relationships. Families suffer as a whole when one member falls into the grip of gambling addiction, resulting in a cascade of social and economic problems.

We are still grappling with the problem of massive youth involvement with pornography , kidnapping and misuse of cigarette and alcohol. It would be unfortunate to add this menace to the bucket of our social challenges.

The Danger to Youth and Family Health

The pervasive presence of betting advertisements during sports and entertainment events normalizes gambling and entices impressionable young minds. Looking for easy money is frowned upon by our culture. These ads glamorize the thrill of betting, overshadowing the potential risks and consequences. As young people are still developing their decision-making capabilities, they are particularly susceptible to these marketing messages. The promise of quick wins can lead them down a path of addiction before they fully comprehend the stakes.

Furthermore, the health of the family unit is at risk. When a young person becomes involved in gambling, the entire family can experience financial strain, emotional distress, and deteriorating relationships. The impact extends beyond the individual, affecting the community and society at large.

A Call to Action:

Given the apparent negative effects of betting advertisements, I implore the Ministry of Youth Development, the Ministry of Information, The Advertising Controlling Councils and the National Broadcasting Commission to take decisive action. We must implement more stringent policies & mechanisms to regulate and control the proliferation of betting and gaming advertisements, especially during times when youth are most likely to be exposed. I have no problem with betting companies as responsible corporate citizens of Nigeria but these checks are needed to protect the leaders of Nigeria’s tomorrow.

Recommendations for Stakeholders

1. Stricter Advertising Regulations : Enforce stricter guidelines on when and where betting advertisements can be displayed, particularly limiting their presence during sports and entertainment events that attract a young audience.

2. Public Awareness Campaigns : Launch comprehensive public awareness campaigns to educate both young people and their families about the risks associated with gambling. Highlight the potential for addiction, financial loss, and emotional harm.

3. Support Systems for Addicts : Strengthen support systems for those affected by gambling addiction. Provide accessible resources for counseling, financial advice, and emotional support to help individuals and families recover.

4. Collaboration with Stakeholders: Engage with advertisers, broadcasters, and the betting industry to promote responsible advertising practices. Encourage these entities to balance their commercial interests with their corporate social responsibility.

In conclusion, while advertising plays a crucial role in our economy, we must recognize and mitigate the potential harm it can cause, especially to our youth. As a Chartered Marketer, I stand with my colleagues in advocating for responsible advertising practices that prioritize the health and well-being of individuals and families. It is imperative that we act now to safeguard our future generations from the dangers of gambling addiction and its devastating impact.


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