If you turn on your television, you'll see a gambling ad.
If you turn on your radio, you'll hear a gambling ad.
If you spend time on the internet, you'll likely be served a gambling ad.
And that's if you have no interest in sport, whatsoever.
If you do happen to watch sport, you might notice there's a 'siren to siren' blackout. No gambling ads are to be played in the breaks.
But the game you're watching might be played at PointsBet Stadium. And the players might have printed on the back of their jerseys 'Ladbrokes'. Or 'Neds'. If you're with mates, they'll probably talk about a "multi" or a "quaddie". And once the game is over, Mark Wahlberg will be back straddling a rocket, exclaiming that it's time to "Ladbroke the world".
To say that advertising has played a part in "normalising" gambling in Australia would be a profound understatement.
Gambling has become part of what it means to be an Australian, particularly an Australian man. If our (very blokey) national identity is defined by mateship and larrikinism, then that's probably most easily imagined as a bunch of men at the pub betting on whatever moves with a round of ice-cold beers.
The question becomes; is there anything wrong with that?
Today is the Melbourne Cup. Australians will bet an estimated $221.6 million on a three-minute-odd race. Most, of course, will lose money, but that's kind of the point.
People who bet today might not bet any other day of the year. It's a tradition. It's what their parents did, and before them, their grandparents. They remember the sweep in primary school. What it felt like to hold the name of a horse in their little hand, watching the race on an ancient TV inside a clammy classroom. Despite what our friends in the United States might think, we are not a police state. Australians have the right to gamble as a form of entertainment, and most people, depending on what data you look at, will not develop a problem.
But then there are those who bet all year long.
Australians are, to be clear, the biggest gamblers on the planet.
The problem here is twofold.
The first is for addicts, most of whom come from low-income households, who at this point don't even have a fighting chance.
It's not unusual to see two commercials for gambling in a single ad break. Advertising has become more insidious, personalising messages to users, and targeting them through text messages and emails. As Todd Sampson put it on last week's episode of ABC's Gruen, "addicts make great consumers". They'll keep handing over their money, even when it's not in their best interest.
The pandemic could have served as the Great Interruptor, giving people who struggle with gambling (like the Pokies) an enforced break. Instead, online betting ramped up. There's been a 300 per cent increase in online gambling since lockdown began. Whereas once in order to gamble you had to get into your car, drive to a venue, get cash out, and sit in a room with a mandatory clock on the wall and natural light - necessary signifiers that time is passing, now the barriers have been erased.