Last updated: 15 Dec, 2020

VicHealth has worked with the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation to explore how the design of sports bars can influence risky behaviour.

By Amy Pennay, Michael Livingston, Megan Cook, Robin Room , Robyn Dwyer, Sarah MacLean, Niamh O’Brien , Matthew Nicholson & Emmanuel Kuntsche


As part of a partnership between the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation and VicHealth, a research team led by Dr Amy Pennay examined whether the physical design of sports bars encourages risky drinking and betting. 

Drawing upon interviews with 200 sports bar attendees, observation of 50 venues and a website review of sports bars in Victoria, the research found that drinking and betting behaviour varied by type of sports bar. Venues that are franchises where the primary activity is viewing televised sports and venues that show sports onlyoccasionally tended to attract younger men who bet less frequently but in higher amounts.In contrast, venues with a specific sports bar section attracted older men who bet more often, but in smaller amounts.  

Across the three venue types, consuming alcohol at risky levels was common. Further, 45% of those interviewed reported sports betting, which was far higher than the five per cent of Victorian adults who report sports betting.