“GAMBLE RESPONSIBLY!” Plead Bookmakers Trying to Entice You to Lose Everything You Own

Peter C Christie
4 min readAug 6, 2017

The Betting And Speculation for Territories and Australians Regulatory Domain (or BASTARD for short), Australia’s body charged with overseeing bookmakers nationwide, is undergoing a crisis: people are gambling, they are losing, and they’re doing it too much. Australians, to put it simply, are punting more than they should, and it’s harming the country. This is happening much to the chagrin of Sportsbet, bet365 and co. who ensure that they mitigate their responsibility for causing society itself to devolve into nothing more than a constant stream of gaming events, simply by plastering a “gamble responsibly!” message somewhere in the commercials being shoved down the throats of every man, woman and child in Australia.

“We really hope and pray that the average Aussie punter out there begins to wisen up to the fact that if he doesn’t stop gambling he’s soon going to default on his mortgage and car repayments and gamble himself and his family onto skid row.” Says Rick Salamander, the chief of BASTARD, who are currently lobbying the federal parliament to resist the temptation to crack down on how much gambling can be advertised to the very people he refers to. “We provide a great service to the community by allowing them to place their own (and others) hard earned money on the outcome of events they have no control over, many of them totally arbitrary (Editor’s note: does anyone have a tip on who’s going to win the Rose of Tralee Beauty Pageant coming up? Punters seem to suspect it’ll be the red hot favourite Aisling Walsh who’s shortened to $4.00 odds), but of course our duty to society starts and ends with the blokey narrator finishing each advertisement by reminding people to resist the insidious and highly addictive disease that is gambling addiction by ‘gambling responsibly.’”

Admirable: A typical betting advertisement, complete with socially responsible urge to “gamble responsibly.” Research suggests that this message is only legible to viewers of a 4K TV of at least 80 inches in size provided the viewer is sat no less than 180cm from the TV and is equipped with either a genetic defect which affords them telescopic vision or is in possession of a set of military-grade binoculars.

Salamander insists that he hasn’t lost touch with the average “punter” out there whose life has been heavily influenced by the outcome of races run by animals he couldn’t even spell, such as an anonymous gambler (asking only to be referred to as “Mr Bowden”), who states that he is still trying to work out how to break the news to his fiancée that their wedding (tipped amongst the Macedonian community as “WA’s biggest in years”) won’t be going ahead after he lost the entire budget on a “sure thing” in race 4 at Pinjarra a week after proposing.

Still, the CEO of BASTARD remains at a loss as to why gambling in Australia continues to rise despite impassioned pleas from bookmakers to “GAMBLE RESPONSIBLY!” after every single TV spot, radio commercial, web page banner, live sports coverage cross, product placement, text message, featured tweet, viral social media video, app notification, sponsored text message, skywriting, carrier pigeon message, message in a bottle, Indian smoke signal and “Batman” style light beam into the sky. “We do our bit by constantly informing the public of all the great products we offer to the consumer, it’s just such a shame that when we do that they continue to use those products to the detriment of society and to no-one’s benefit but that of our shareholders” says Salamander.

“We think that it’s really important that we’re allowed to continue to spread our wholesome message wherever we can — we’re working on technology which allows people to have odds beamed directly into their head when they haven’t been exposed to a gambling commercial in the last 60 seconds and/or they haven’t placed a bet in the last 5 minutes,” says the multi-millionaire who was heard mentioning to a co-worker that he’d “never be so stupid” as to place any of his “hard earned” on a bet. “The thing that really gets my goat is when people suggest that there should be regulations on advertisement for gambling like there is on smoking and alcohol or that the sporting codes should have any sort of moral code and extricate themselves from the clutches of our multi-million dollar sponsorship deals. The last thing we’d want is for kids to grow up not thinking that it’s a normal part of life to lose an entire week’s pay on a Belgian Water Polo match in the hope that you’ll fill a void in your soul with a fleeting rush of dopamine before you inevitably lose those winnings on an Equestrian meet in Kenya…can you imagine a world without betting?”

The 50-something father of none removes his now dead cigar from his mouth, and for a moment he looks as if he’ll be sick at that very thought. Thankfully, and not a second too soon, his phone buzzes, and a notification arrives. Wide eyed for a moment, until a smile creeps across his face, he looks across to me and grins. “There’s been an upset at Kardinia park… the Cats just went down to the Dees! Boy, I needed that!” he says, before patting dry the sweat from his brow with a handkerchief, and lighting up another cigar.

If you enjoy this article, it helps me if you give it a like, a recommend, or even better, a share.