Esports ads spruik alcohol, junk food

Finbar O'Mallon
Researchers say unregulated alcohol advertising is causing heavy drinking among video gamers

Researchers have blamed unregulated alcohol advertising in the esports industry for heavy drinking among serious video gamers.

The University of Queensland study, conducted for the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, found addicted gamers drank more alcohol and drank more frequently than casual gamers.

The foundation is set to launch the report at Parliament House on Wednesday as part of the anti-alcohol advertising in sport campaign.

Esports - online competitive gaming - is estimated to be a $1 billion per year industry globally, with an audience of four million people in Australia.

Addicted gamers, who were considered addicted based off a survey, and heavy gamers were also more likely to see alcohol ads when playing video games.

Researchers also found more than half of their study group would be considered addicted gamers.

The study found junk food ads made up 60 per cent of the ads in esports, with alcohol making up 15 per cent.

Lead researcher, Associate Professor Sarah Kelly, said esports was a highly successful way for alcohol companies to reach young people.

She said bringing the industry's advertising regulations in line with other sporting codes was a "priority issue".

The largest number of addicted gamers were aged between 25 to 34 years old, with older age groups more aware and receptive to alcohol advertising.

The study found alcohol and junk food was plugged through ads, naming rights or sponsorships, endorsements by esports players and branded equipment.