Ed Note: The Hottest 100 is still months away. In fact, voting isn’t even set to open until December, but that hasn’t stopped betting companies from already having odds open for who’s going to top the national youth broadcaster’s (and we stress the word ‘youth’) annual poll.

Just like every other year in recent memory, the betting companies insist on undermining the spirit of the triple j Hottest 100 with this insidious and immoral promotion. And just like every other year in recent memory, we’re absolutely sickened by it.

So since the betting companies are content to open betting without an active Hottest 100 campaign going on, we want to remind you, dear readers, of why what they’re doing is totally fucked. We originally published this piece back in 2015, but not a thing has changed.

As we edge closer and closer to Australia Day, there’s been a growing trend of betting companies trying to turn the Hottest 100 into some kind of betting spectacle. Not only is it ruining the spirit of the countdown – it’s dangerous.

By sending multiple press releases to music media outlets, betting companies such as Sportingbet have been latching onto the Hottest 100 in the lead up to the countdown in the greedy attempt to make money off of one of the nation’s most-loved traditions.

Historically, the countdown has always involved an element of competition – part of the fun is arguing with friends about whose picks will or won’t make it, and guessing which song will eventually triumph for the top spot.

That’s where you’d think it should stop, but since the meme-like rise of the grassroots campaign trying to get Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ atop of the 2014 throne, we’ve seen betting agencies and media outlets alike continuously talking about the countdown in terms of betting odds.

What they’re doing is trying to portray gambling as something that’s fun, social and competitive, and normalising it as something that goes hand-in-hand with the Hottest 100 tradition.

Only, it’s not.

It isn’t a football game; nor is Peking Duk the quirky name of a thoroughbred horse. The Hottest 100 is about music – not gambling – and it should stay that way.

Not only is it unnecessary – and at the risk of sounding even more like an angry tax payer at a typewriter 60 years my senior – but it’s completely irresponsible.

It’s important to remember that Triple J is a youth broadcaster with a target demographic of people aged between 18 and 39, with many listeners younger still.

It then becomes problematic considering betting companies are trying to incite a gambling culture within the Hottest 100 where the majority of voters are young, often impressionable people.

In other words, these companies are specifically targeting a younger audience and exposing them to their advertising in an attempt to start gambling, or continue their habit.

And for the most part, media publications have played right into Sportingbet et al’s campaign strategy.

Ultimately, there needs to be a greater concern about how gambling advertising is trying to sneak its way into music.

This isn’t about shaming those who gamble – rather, it’s about acknowledging that large companies are strategically capitalising on the Hottest 100 in spite of its potential harmful effects on young audiences, and it’s time that it ends.

Just as some might say about Taylor Swift, gambling has absolutely no place in the Hottest 100.

If you or someone you know has a problem with gambling, please contact Gambling Help Online.

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