Posts Tagged ‘AFL’

A lot of interesting ideas in this article, and it is hopeful that the federal government’s proposed changes to sports betting advertising will have a positive impact on the next generation of young sports fans so that they aren’t indoctrinated to believe that gambling is intrinsically linked with sporting events in this country.

Beaner

 

Wide-ranging ban on gambling ads during sport broadcasts will help those with problems

The Turnbull Government is reportedly considering banning the advertising of gambling during televised sporting broadcasts.

This is not a new idea: Senator Nick Xenophon has long championed a ban, as have many who work with problem gamblers.

It has been reported that more than one-in-six ads shown during AFL matches are gambling-related.

So, could advertising be linked with rates of problem gambling?

Evidence suggests ads have an impact

Increases in problem gambling linked to sports betting have been reported in recent years, particularly among young men.

The numbers of 18-to-25-year-old men with problems related to sports betting doubled between 2012 and 2015 at the University of Sydney’s Gambling Treatment Clinic (where I work).

At the same time, gambling odds and prices have become a central part of sporting culture.

Campaign to dissuade young gamblers

An awareness campaign that ran during the AFL finals series, aimed to counter a rise in problem teenage gamblers.

The “gamblification” of sport is now seen as both a normal and central component of it.

In pre-game reporting, the prices and odds are seen as being as important as player injuries and weather conditions.

Being able to draw a clear line between increased promotion of gambling and rates of problem gambling is not easy.

Given there are always multiple factors why someone develops a gambling problem, it is never as clear-cut as blaming advertising.

However, some evidence exists to suggest advertising has impacts on problem gamblers.

Interview research and large-scale survey work have both suggested that gambling ads during sport strongly affect many problem gamblers by increasing their desire to gamble when trying to cut down.

Therefore, restrictions on advertising may be effective in helping those with problems to manage their urges to gamble.

Another widespread concern about gambling advertising during sports broadcasts is the impact it might be having on young people.

There is evidence this advertising can have an impact.

A study of Canadian adolescents found the majority had been exposed to gambling advertising.

It also found this advertising was leading to the belief that the chance of winning was high, and that gambling was an easy way to make money.

These findings are particularly concerning. In our work with problem gamblers, we have found these beliefs are crucial to the development of gambling problems.

Typically, when examining a problem gambler’s history, we find they were exposed to gambling at a young age and developed positive attitudes toward gambling at the time.

In particular, a distorted belief in the likelihood of winning appears to be a key driver in many of our patients who developed problems.

Thus, advertising that promotes the idea that gambling is an easy way to make money is likely to prime our kids for developing gambling problems in the future.

What we can learn from tobacco ad bans

Would a ban on the advertising of gambling during sport broadcasts change attitudes toward gambling and gambling behaviour?

Here, evidence on the impacts of tobacco advertising is instructive.

Tobacco advertising has been progressively restricted or banned in many countries. Thus, considerable evidence is available to make conclusions.

There appears to be clear evidence that tobacco advertising does result in increased rates of smoking in adolescents.

It has also been found that bans on tobacco advertising appear to be effective in reducing tobacco use — but only in the case of complete bans.

In contrast, attempts to limit bans on advertising to certain mediums — such as banning ads on TV — appear not to be effective, as this simply results in increases in tobacco advertising in non-banned media (in print or on billboards, for instance).

This suggests that for any restriction of gambling advertising to be effective, it needs to be widespread.

Such displacement has already been seen with gambling. There is evidence of increased social media promotion of gambling, which has resulted in increases in positive attitudes toward gambling in those exposed to these promotions.

There is not yet any demonstrated definitive link between increases in gambling advertising during sports and problem gambling.

However, the research that has been conducted indicates that advertising may result in increased gambling by problem gamblers and increases in distorted beliefs about gambling in young people.

If the Government chooses to go down the path of increasing restrictions on gambling advertising, it is important that any restrictions are wide-ranging enough to have a clear impact on gambling behaviours and attitudes.

Support is available through the Gambler’s Help website gamblershelp.com.au or by calling the free Gambling Help Line on 1800 858 858.

Dr Christopher Hunt is a clinical psychologist working at the University of Sydney’s School of Psychology. He has worked at the University’s Gambling Treatment Clinic since 2007.

Originally published in The Conversation

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-17/why-all-gambling-ads-should-be-banned-during-sporting-matches/8363232

In a move that probably doesn’t go far enough, the federal government has instigated a policy so that no gambling ads will be allowed before 8:30pm on Australian TV.  I personally feel gambling advertising is a blight on the enjoyment of sport, especially when commercial TV and radio sell out to the sports betting agencies, as the AFL has done, to line their pockets at the expense of problem gamblers.  Listening to 3MMM makes me feel ill with their sponsors seemingly more important than the games they are supposed to be covering.  Maybe one day our kids will be able to just enjoy being sports fans without constantly being bombarded with odds and deals and specials as well.

Beaner

 

Gambling advertising to be banned during live sporting events

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed the Government will ban gambling advertising before 8.30pm during live sporting events, and for five minutes before and after the start of play.

ABC News revealed last month that the plan had been taken to Cabinet.

It faced a backlash from the executives of some of the nation’s biggest sporting codes, who argued restricting gambling advertising would slash the value of the television rights their codes attract.

But speaking in the United States before his flight back to Australia on Saturday morning, Mr Turnbull said the plan would go ahead.

“Parents around Australia will be delighted when they know that during football matches, and cricket matches, live sporting events before 8:30pm, there will be no more gambling ads,” he said.

“There are no gambling ads allowed before 8:30pm generally, but there’s been an exception for a long time, of live sporting events.”

Mr Turnbull said the ban would not apply to racing.

Executives from the AFL and NRL had been lobbying Communications Minister Mitch Fifield to scrap the plans.

ABC News had also been told Cricket Australia was pushing against the change.

After 8:30pm, the status quo will remain.

“The gambling companies have actually been at the forefront of calling for just these types of restrictions,” Senator Fifield said.

“The Responsible Wagering Council have been urging the Government to look at this area because they recognise that there’s a need for change.”

Ban a ‘good, big first step’: Xenophon

The gambling policy could help secure Senate crossbench support for other media reforms dealing with ownership and reach restrictions.

Senator Nick Xenophon has long campaigned for restrictions to gambling advertising, and commands three votes in the Upper House.

He described the announcement as a “good, big first step”, but said he wanted further protections put in place to force regional broadcasters to produce local content as part of any broader media shakeup.

The Greens seemed unlikely to support the measures, while Labor maintained it needed to see the detail.

“We do want to see a diversity of voices available in the Australian media environment,” Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek said.

“We need to see the details of what the Government is proposing, what we frequently see is that Malcolm Turnbull delivers less than people expect.”

The Coalition has also proposed changes to the “anti-siphoning list” which makes sure certain sports are broadcast on free-to-air networks, giving pay television a better chance of bidding for major events.

Government ‘scraps licence fees’ to fund lost ad revenue

The nation’s free-to-air television networks had also raised concerns it would eat into their advertising revenue, and demanded their Commonwealth licence fees be cut to fund the losses.

Networks pay about $130 million per year for their broadcast licences.

Under the new model, that would be replaced by what is called a “spectrum charge” of about $40 million.

“In the last budget I cut free-to-air licence fees by 25 per cent, my predecessors have also cut licence fees,” Senator Fifield said.

“So it’s been something that both sides of politics have recognised that the licence fees are something that are really from a bygone era.

“What we have done is taken the opportunity to not only provide a shot in the arm for free-to-air broadcasters, but we have taken this opportunity to provide a community dividend in the form of further gambling advertising restrictions.”

Free TV Australia said it was a “tremendous” package that had been agreed to by the industry.

“There’s nowhere else in the world that licence fees are charged like this, it was a complete anomaly,” chairman Harold Mitchell said.

Australia’s third largest network, Network Ten, had been hoping for a cut in its licence fees as it battles to survive in the tough television advertising market.

“The Government’s package provides very welcome, immediate financial relief for all commercial free-to-air television broadcasters,” Network Ten chief executive Paul Anderson said.

“It provides a boost for local content and the local production sector.

“Recent financial results and announcements from across the Australian media industry clearly demonstrate that this is a sector under extreme competitive pressure from the foreign-owned tech media giants.

“This package is not just about Ten or free-to-air television. It is about ensuring that there is a future for Australian media companies.”

By political reporter Matthew Doran, Updated 6 May 2017

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-17/why-all-gambling-ads-should-be-banned-during-sporting-matches/8363232

Kenny 23/4/17

  • $10 single bet for every game with nominated best chance of goalkicker for that game = $90
  • 1st goalkicker 3-leg multis  @ $10 x 3= $30 to cover all 9 games

Total cost = $120

  • Only need one goalkicker @12/1 to salute each week to get money back.
  • Land a 3-leg multibet and stand to win around $10k.

 

Consistent 1st goal kickers 2016-17

ADE – Walker

BRIS – Zorko

CAR – Weitering

COLL – Fasolo

ESS – Daniher

FREO – McCarthy, Walters

GC – T. Lynch

GEEL – Menzel, Hawkins

GWS – Stevie J, Cameron

HAW – Breust

MEL – Watts

NORTH – B. Brown

PORT – Dixon, Gray

RICH – Riewoldt

SAINTS – Bruce, Gresham

SYD – Franklin, Reid

WB – Stringer

WCE –Kennedy

With the 2017 AFL season nearly upon us, the sports betting agencies are gearing up for another onslaught of advertising across TV, Pay TV, radio, newspapers and the internet.  It really depresses me that our local game is now in bed with the betting agencies, so closely linked that the AFL relies on the money, while at the same time warning the AFL players of the dangers of gambling.  It was pleasing that some of the players have made comments about this irony recently, and with many AFL players now family men, they are also acutely aware of the responsibility they have to raise their own children in a gambling free environment – which is difficult to avoid when their kids are watching daddy on TV and there is a sports betting ad or odds update during every commercial break after a goal has been kicked.

GAMBLING advertising during AFL games is “out of control” according to Western Bulldogs premiership captain Easton Wood.

Wood took to Twitter during the telecast of Friday night’s AFLW game between the Bulldogs and Adelaide to raise his concerns and asked fans whether they agreed.

Wood’s tweet was retweeted more than 1000 times and had more than 2700 likes. Most of the replies were strong in their support, however some queried whether he would be prepared to play for less money if the gaming industry pulled its financial support for the game.

In a note attached to the tweet, he said the Bulldogs this week had their annual education session with the AFL, which he described as “both informative and well run.”

But he questioned why there was so much gambling advertising if gambling was such a big issue that it required an annual information session from the League.

“Why – as an industry – do we support the onslaught of gambling advertising you’re now faced with when watching an AFL game?” he wrote in the tweet.

“The obvious issue here is the effect this advertising has on children every time we pull on our boots. The big question is do we think the normalization of gambling – particularly to kids – is acceptable in this day and age?”

Friday night’s match was broadcast live on Fox Footy in Victoria, but the gambling industry advertises across all forms of live sport. The industry standard is that 10 per cent of advertising during live sport broadcasts can promote sports betting.

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Easton Wood

RESOLVING the issues surrounding gambling in the AFL won’t be easy but the conversation needs to happen, Geelong veteran Harry Taylor says.

Taylor said it was a concern to him that the eldest of his three children was able to name the gambling-related advertisements he saw when watching sport on TV.

However he said further education and discussion were critical if answers were to be found on the appropriate relationship between gambling and professional sport.

“When my eldest can name a lot of the ads on TV, that is a bit of a worry,” Taylor said.

“It’s certainly something that we need to keep talking about [and] educating people about. It’s not as simple as just cutting them out of the AFL.”

Western Bulldogs premiership skipper Easton Wood put the issue back on the agenda at the weekend when he questioned the level of gambling advertising during televised AFL games.

Wood wrote on social media: “Do we think the normalisation of gambling – particularly to kids – is acceptable in this day and age?”

Taylor said more education was needed for AFL players and society in general.

$814 million was lost on sportsbetting in 2014-15, which equates to $2 230 137 being lost by punters on sports EVERY DAY in Australia.

So if you think you can beat the system then well done and good luck for the future, as the hard evidence clearly shows that a lot of money is being lost by people betting on sports.  With the odds structures always favouring the sports betting agencies, they are taking their cut whether you win or lose, and then with the fickle nature of sports results, picking a winner is still no easier.

The only recommendation I can make to those who enjoy a punt on sports is to bet smart, look for value and ‘good bets’ and seek help if you are losing more than you are winning beyond the budget you have set for yourself.

Beaner

 

Punters lose $23 Billion

Richard Willingham and Benjamin Preiss
Published: August 22, 2016 – 8:02PM

Australian punters lost nearly $23 billion last year, with a 30 per cent growth in sports betting helping to drive a continued rise in annual gambling losses.

New Australian Gambling Statistics figures show Australians lost $1241 per head in 2014-15, with poker machines still the biggest cause of punter losses with $11.6 billion lost, an increase of 4.9 per cent.

The continued growth of punter losses reignited calls for state and federal governments to get serious about tackling problem gambling through action on sports betting advertising and pokies.

The annual compilation of all state and territory data shows that total expenditure, or gambler losses, hit $22.7 billion in 2014-15, an increase of 7.7 per cent on the previous financial year.

There has been an explosion in sports betting, with the sector growing by 30.1 per cent in 12 months – with predictions the exponential growth will continue.

But sports betting is still one of the smallest segments of the market, worth $814 million, compared to pokies, racing ($2.8 billion), and Lotto ($1.7 billion).

Traditional betting on racing was the smallest growing sector at just 2.7 per cent.

The Victorian government on Sunday announced a ban on betting ads near schools and on public transport, while Canberra is moving to crack down on offshore bookies, as well as strengthen consumer protection for local online punters.

There are also renewed calls from Senator Nick Xenophon, the Greens and Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie for poker machine reform.

Gambling losses in total for Victoria hit almost $5.8 billion in the 2014-15, with poker machine losses surpassing $2.5 billion, propping up Treasury coffers by more than $1 billion.

In NSW, punter losses hit $8.9 billion, with $5.7 billion lost on the pokies alone, sports betting worth $162 million and racing $945 million.

Across the nation casinos raked in $5.1 billion of gambler losses, with Melbourne’s Crown Casino hauling in $1.8 billion.

Monash University Public Health expert Charles Livingstone said the growth in sports betting losses was “phenomenal”.

“It demonstrates why we need to better regulate promotion and advertising. Otherwise we’re facing big growth in gambling problems and harm from young men and women,” Dr Livingstone said.

“But the 600-pound gorilla of Australian gambling is still the pokies: $12 billion in losses per year, and still growing, year after year. If we’re worried by sports betting, we should be 13 times more worried about the pokies.”

Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesman Tim Costello said state governments could fix the “poker machine madness”

“[That is] if any of them really cared about the issue,” he said.

The Australian Gambling Statistics 2014-15 shows that in Victoria total per person gambling losses hit $1250. Pokies losses was the biggest segment with $558 lost per Victorian.

In NSW, per person losses were higher at $1517.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said the rate of problem gambling in the online sector was three times that of other areas.

“Many Australians love to gamble but we have to make sure the gambling environment is a safe one – that’s why we are cracking down on illegal offshore gambling providers and introducing much strong consumer protection for online gambling,” Mr Tudge said.

Deakin University associate professor of public health, Samantha Thomas, suspected sports betting had grown on the back of heavy marketing.

“While not all losses equal harm, a lot of them do. It’s time for governments to start to seriously consider the factors that are contributing to these growing losses and implement effective evidenced-based strategies to reduce harm,” she said.

“This includes addressing the factors from industry, such as prolific advertising or high intensity poker machines, that may be contributing to harm. Clearly, ‘gamble responsibly’ strategies are not having an impact on reducing losses or preventing harm.”

Victorian Gaming Regulation Minister Marlene Kairouz said the state government shared the community’s concerns about problem gambling. She said the government had invested $150 million over four years to support problem gambling services.

This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/australian-punters-lose-23-billion-half-on-the-pokies-20160822-gqyiz5.html

AAP
April 3, 2016 7:45 PM

WHATEVER the solution to the AFL’s vexed issue of betting, League chief executive Gillon McLachlan is adamant it is not prohibition.

McLachlan admits there is some unease within the AFL about whether the League and its clubs should benefit from betting revenue, given the well-known social problems of gambling addiction.

But he added that there was a balance on issues such as gambling advertising at matches.

McLachlan said the AFL had worked with TV broadcasters so there were no live odds shown while the game was being played.

“People’s views are different – a number of people have very strong views about wagering,” he told ABC radio on Sunday.

“I have a view that is not universal around the AFL … that things that are legal and part of our game, our job is then to contextualise that.

“I’m also real about wagering – we are better off having relationships with wagering companies than not because we get access to information.

“We can protect the integrity of our competition.”

McLachlan added the revenue from gambling sponsorship helped the game’s growth but said it was an issue debated “reasonably regularly” at League headquarters.

He also said there is evidence that betting habits are changing, rather than more people are gambling on sport.

“The data basically is that betting is not growing, it’s just skewing from racing across to sport,” he said.

“The runaway train that people are talking about is not reflected in the numbers, (they’re) referring to a change.

“Maybe that means there’s a different profile of the people who are betting.

“I’m not in denial of the problem … the solutions are not as easy as people would think.”

April 3, 2016

Farrah Tomazin

Sports betting agencies are adopting similar marketing techniques used by the powerful tobacco lobby to convince people that online gambling is an intrinsic part of Australian culture, new research suggests.

As the Turnbull government prepares to unveil reforms to crack down on foreign bookmakers, a study has found that betting giants are increasingly using gender stereotypes, fan rituals and images of mateship to “normalise” online wagering through highly targeted advertisements.

“The same playbook that we saw in tobacco and alcohol is happening again,” said Samantha Thomas, a public health academic at Deakin University, which led the study.

“It’s being depicted in advertising as though it’s part of Aussie culture – this idea that if you’re a true Aussie bloke, you go to the pub, you hang with your mates, you watch your sport and now you also gamble on sport as well. We should all be smarter about the way these companies seek to normalise their product.”

The study analysed 85 advertisements from 11 local and international gambling companies, including Ladbrokes, Sportsbet, William Hill, Bet365 and Crownbet.

It found that over three quarters of ads used imagery relating to sports fan rituals (such as images of fans cheering for their teams at stadiums or while watching TV); about half contained symbols of mateship (such as gambling being something you do with your friends at the pub); and about a quarter objectified women (who often appeared in the ads playing a subservient service role to men).

One Sportsbet ad for instance, described the bikini as “one of man’s greatest inventions” while a man poked the breast of a woman in her bathers as she sat by a pool. In another ad by Betfair, a James Bond-type character in a suit played table tennis with a woman wearing a bikini while the voiceover states: “When you have power, you can do what you want. With whoever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want, as many different ways as you want.”

The research found 10 main types of “appeal strategies” were used by betting agencies to market sports wagering, including sexual imagery; thrill and risk; sports fan behaviours; mateship; winning; social status; adventure; patriotism; happiness; and power and control.

But experts say the ads should serve as a cautionary tale, particularly in the lead up to the Olympics, which Associate Professor Thomas warned could end up being “one of the biggest betting events the world has ever seen”.

The research is likely to add to concerns about cashed up bookmakers pumping millions of dollars into advertising and corporate sponsorship in the hope of securing a bigger foothold in the lucrative sports betting market.

However, Sportsbet chief financial officer Ben Sleep said he “categorically rejects any comparison of our business to those of tobacco companies.”

“It has been proven that every single cigarette does you harm whereas it is only a very small percentage of consumers who are at risk of developing an issue with wagering. Sportsbet is continually developing world’s best practice harm minimisation measures and strategies to help consumers enjoy our product safely,” Mr Sleep said.

Betting companies are trying to normalise online gambling as an everyday part of Australian culture.

Standard Media Index figures show that in the first two months of this year, the gambling industry had spent $27.3 million on advertising. And as The Age reported on Saturday, football fans have been bombarded with ads since the AFL season opened last week, with more than one in six ads promoting gambling during round one.

A spokesperson for the Australian Wagering Council, which represents the sportsbetting industry, said the ads informed consumers of the identity of licensed Australian-based providers so they could participate in “highly controlled and consumer protected” betting, while avoiding the dangers of illegal offshore operators.

“AWC members recognise community concern in relation to wagering advertising and agree that advertising should always conform to accepted social standards, and not promote harmful behaviour,” the spokesperson said.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/sports-betting-giants-turn-to-sexual-imagery-and-mateship-to-normalise-gambling-20160401-gnwnen.html#ixzz44p541CdP

With the idea being manufactured that gambling and AFL go hand in hand, the AFL is willingly normalising sports betting as an integral part of being an AFL fan.  Generations of young Australians will grow up believing that betting on the footy is a normal part of being an AFL fan, and the AFL is allowing this due to the revenue they generate from their affiliation and sponsorship with the sports betting companies.  Personally I think it is totally irresponsible to put the dollar ahead of the welfare of a generation of punters who could potentially have any number of gambling problems and addictions in the future.

Beaner

Gambling ads dominate AFL’s round one broadcasts

Richard Willingham.  April 1, 2016

Despite a community backlash, gambling advertising continues during TV broadcasts.

Football fans watching round one on TV were bombarded with gambling advertising, with more than one in six ads promoting gaming.

Despite a ban on ads for gambling during game time, data shows it was the second biggest advertising category over the four AFL games shown on free-to-air TV in Melbourne last weekend. Automotive was the biggest advertiser.

Of the nearly 200 ads screened in the Richmond v Carlton, Sydney v Collingwood, Port Adelaide v St Kilda, and Geelong v Hawthorn matches, 34 were for gambling.

CrownBet, the “official wagering partner of the AFL”, accounted for half of the advertising, with other bookies including Sportsbet and Bet365.

There has long been community concern about the proliferation of gambling ads. This is particularly so in sport, where experts have raised concerns that the association between sports and betting is “grooming” children by normalising betting.

Under an industry code of conduct, gambling promotion is banned “siren to siren” but is allowed to be screened before and after matches and during quarter and half-time breaks.

The Victorian government and many interest groups have urged the review of online gambling laws to look at stronger rules governing gambling advertising. Its report has yet to be released.

Samantha Thomas, a public health academic at Deakin University, said gambling was “a very adult product” which was being prolifically marketed in matches promoted by the AFL as being “family friendly”.

“There is a very clear ethical tension here that the AFL and broadcasters have not adequately addressed,” Dr Thomas said. “Kids tell us that it is the marketing that they see during sport that makes them think that gambling is a normal part of sport.”

“The AFL and broadcasters need to respond to community concerns and start to show some leadership in this area; putting the welfare of the community over the money they are making from gambling sponsorship deals.”

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation chief executive Serge Sardo said there was widespread concern about the relationship between sport and betting.

“We are concerned that gambling advertising is changing the way our youth view spot; we are worried about the long-term impact,” Mr Sardo said.

The foundation wants gambling advertising banned from all G-classified TV programs.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform chairman Geoff Lake has demanded the TV networks stop advertising gambling to children.

“It’s that simple,” he said. “This normalises an adult product in the minds of young and impressionable footy fans. If the networks aren’t careful, they could end up killing the golden goose, with parents just turning the TV off.”

The Australian Wagering Council said gambling advertising had to comply with a code of conduct.

“Australian Wagering Council members do recognise community concern in relation to wagering advertising and agree that advertising should always conform to accepted social standards,” a spokeswoman said.

“AWC members will continue to work with sport’s controlling bodies and government to address any concerns.”

Melbourne Football Club has become the ninth Victorian footy club to sign Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation’s responsible gambling charter, which includes a ban on a partnership with any sports betting agency or gambling promotion.

The charter has been criticised because most AFL clubs have poker machine venues, but the foundation says the charter requires extra levels of responsibility in pokies.

The AFL said it had no role in the operation of the broadcasting code, but it was the league’s understanding that broadcasts always adhered to the limits on advertising.

Channel Seven said it complies with the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice which contains extensive restrictions in relation to gambling advertising, particularly in programming directed towards children.

“Provisions introduced in 2013 also prevent the advertising of odds during live sports broadcasts,” a spokesman said.

“Commercial television free-to-air broadcasters are the only media platform with such comprehensive rules around the placement and broadcast of gambling advertising.”

Bookmakers were also contacted for comment.

AFL 2016: Gambling revenue the AFL’s dirtiest cash cow

Caroline Wilson
April 2, 2016
Gillon McLachlan took more than a week to respond to the Collingwood illicit drugs controversy. By then the so-called “noise” had almost gone quiet and the minds of a multitude of supporters made up but still when the AFL chief finally did speak he made a lot of sense.
McLachlan slammed the calls for zero tolerance as “insane” and then offered on his regular Friday 3AW gig some nice diversionary calls such as a wish to try football in New Zealand again one day despite its first foray flopping. And potentially awarding Jared Tallent his belated London gold medal at the MCG on grand final day.

It was only when broadcaster Neil Mitchell turned the subject to gaming that the AFL boss came down with a case of the mumbles. This is because McLachlan has nowhere to go on this issue and he knows it.

He’s not alone. Despite devoting increasing resources to fighting corruption and shielding the game from the growing international threat of match fixing; gambling revenue remains the AFL’s dirtiest cash cow.

That the competition continues to thrust betting on a daily basis into the hearts and minds of all its supporters of all ages remains a source of some discomfort to the AFL Commission and so it should.

Having chosen years ago to take up – with varying degrees of success – social leadership in the form of indigenous Australians, women, drugs and more recently homophobia and domestic violence; the AFL remains as hooked on gambling revenue as the clubs McLachlan was questioned about on Friday.

The deal it struck with CrownBet last year remains a Goliath in Australian sporting sponsorship with the betting partner smashing its category to the tune of almost double its nearest opponent. What resulted was a five-year deal worth close to $50 million.

The AFL’s corporate partnerships reaped $55 million from late 2014 through 2015 – roughly one-third of its $182 million commercial operations revenue which increased by 11 per cent from the previous year.

At an estimated $10 million annually the CrownBet deal is a beast and an exclusive arrangement which has led so many clubs towards lucrative deals with problem gambling groups simply because the AFL deal has priced some former club betting deals out of the market.

And the AFL delivers in spades. On the face of it, CrownBet owns AFL.com, the nation’s biggest sporting website. In an era when digital assets have never been more powerful, the AFL’s website would indicate that Australian rules football and betting are inexorably linked and that the game is all about the hip pocket, taking a financial punt with the push of a button.

It is hard to argue with the AFL taking a percentage of every football bet given that all sports do so. But surely the hypocrisy of taking so much money out of an industry which has created such a vast social problem and one which has gone hand-in-hand with international sporting corruption must play on the conscience of the commissioners.

Particularly when they now directly play such a role in introducing children to gambling. As if the saturation advertising on TV and radio during AFL broadcast isn’t bad enough. And yet no senior figure appears prepared to show leadership.

Even Colin Carter, the Geelong chairman who this week accused the industry of being complicit in the damage done by poker machines, smacked of double standards when he said his club would love to sell its pokies but couldn’t currently afford to.

Particularly children who attend when every game at Simonds Stadium are inundated by bet365 LED signage. The Cats are no longer sponsored by the betting agency but sold their signage rights to a broker who covers the cost of setting up the LED and in turn gains 20 per cent of the signage as a pay-off.

So like McLachlan’s comments on radio on Friday there is an arm’s length mentality that pervades the Geelong’s betting advertising at the same time the respected club chief speaks wishfully of turning his back on it.

Having met late last year with anti-gaming crusaders Tim Costello and Nick Xenophon over the clubs’ unhealthy reliance on pokies, McLachlan has made no definitive statement on the problem — in 2015 nine Victorian clubs took close to $90 million from gaming machines and their victims.

Only North Melbourne have given away the pokies with Hawthorn’s multimillion-dollar profits so heavily reliant on their gaming booty and with the pokies representing some 20 per cent of the clubs’ total revenue.

And yet the AFL has failed to support Costello’s call for con-free machines, several days ago responding with a wishy-washy statement on the issue instead.

Is online sports betting the new frontier for problem gamblers?

March 26, 2016

It’s a turf war that transcends every major sporting event in the country, and anyone who watched Thursday’s AFL season opener between Richmond and Carlton would have caught a glimpse of how ubiquitous it has become.

We saw it shortly after the first bounce, when Hollywood veteran Samuel L. Jackson appeared on our TV screens, urging us to join him as a member of online gambling agency Bet365.

We saw it on Twitter throughout the game, with global giant William Hill encouraging us to have a wager through its controversial “in-play” service.

 

And chances are we’ll see it every week this season and beyond: cashed up bookmakers pumping millions into advertising and corporate sponsorship in the hope of securing a bigger foothold in the lucrative sports betting market.

But what impact is this having and how should authorities deal with it?

It’s a question Victorian Gaming Minister Jane Garrett has been asked several times before, and one that she’s been forced ponder as the mother of young children.

A few years ago, the Labor MP was holidaying in Queensland with her family when her daughter – then only aged around eight –called a friend in Melbourne and cited the odds of Buddy Franklin kicking the first goal. Garrett was shocked.

“I am concerned about the explosion of gambling advertising in our community, and I know from personal experience that children are talking odds instead of their sports idols,” she says.

“We do have to take a step back and admit there have been big changes in how these things are being marketed. There’s a pervasiveness about it and at every level of government we need to acknowledge it and deal with it.”

Within weeks, the Turnbull government is expected to unveil reforms designed to crack down on illegal offshore wagering. Among the changes, online betting on live sport – otherwise known as “in-play” – is expected to be banned at least until the federal election, and unlicensed offshore bookmakers will not be permitted to take bets from Australians.

But the issue of advertising is unlikely to be tackled in any significant way because it was taken out of the terms of reference following a backlash from media broadcasters.

“These bookies have very deep pockets and they’ve got a huge budget for advertising which is why the TVs and the sporting bodies love them so much,” says Monash University expert Charles Livingstone.

In Victoria, the Andrews government was deeply unimpressed when this year’s Australian Open became the first grand slam event to have a betting agency, William Hill, as its major sponsor (just as tennis was plagued by match-fixing claims). However, it won’t say what, if anything, it could do to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen next year.

In a bid to tackle betting ads more broadly, the state is considering restrictions on where billboards can appear, and has also flagged with Canberra the development of national regulations. But as Garrett admits: “there’s no easy fix”.

What is clear is that smart phone technology has helped reshape the industry dramatically in recent years, and companies are prepared to spend up big to target a new generation of gamblers. Standard Media Index figures show that in the first two months of this year, the gambling industry had spent $27.3 million on advertising – over 40 per cent more than the corresponding period. Turnover on sports betting has also increased: from $1.66 billion in 2004-05 to $5.89 billion in 2014-15.

But the impact on people is what worries Financial Counselling Australia policy manager Lauren Levin, who has seen more than a few lose their life savings, lured by incentives such as cash bonuses and credit. Her organisation suggests banning advertising links between payday lending sites; requiring customers to nominate a maximum bet when they set up an online account; and a national register for people who want to self-exclude.

In-play betting, however, remains the most contested issue within the industry and it seems the federal government is yet to decide whether it is for or against liberalising the practice. Traditional operators, pubs and clubs will be encouraged by Canberra’s decision to impose a short term ban until the election, but will want to see a permanent reform. Others, however, take a different view.

“In-play play wagering on sport is a product that already exists in Australia, within a well established regulatory framework, in many thousands of retail wagering and gaming venues,” says Sportsbet regulatory affairs director Ben Sleep. “It makes no sense that it is not allowed in an online environment.”

BETTING AND SPORT

Tennis: William Hill became the first betting partner of a grand slam when it sponsored the Australian Open this year.

AFL: CrownBet is a partner of the AFL. UBet sponsors Gold Coast Suns and Port Adelaide. Crown (which owns CrownBet) is a partner of West Coast

Cricket: Bet365 is a partner of Cricket Australia

NBL: Ladbrokes is the “Official Australian Sports Betting and Wagering Partner”

Soccer: TAB is the “Official Betting Partner of the FFA”. Crown Perth (which is part of the same company as CrownBet) is a partner of Perth Glory.

Rugby: William Hill sponsors Brisbane Broncos. TAB is a partner of Canberra Raiders. Crown Resorts is partners Melbourne Storm.

Racing: Ladbrokes is an official partner of the Melbourne Racing Club. William Hill is a major sponsor of the Cox Plate.
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/bookies-battle-for-a-bigger-share-of-sports-betting-market-but-at-what-cost-20160326-gnrhbj.html#ixzz445fo1ZKl