AFL slammed for free gambling vouchers


AFL slammed for free gambling vouchers - 2nd April 2009

Promotion "cannabilising" supporters
Giving betting firms "plenty of oxygen"
Xenophon to introduce a Bill to ban it

The AFL has "cannabalised" supporters by attaching free gambling vouchers to the official match day program, Independent Senator Nick Xenophon says.

Senator Xenophon plans to introduce a Bill into Federal Parliament banning such promotions, which he says are designed get some people hooked on gambling.

All copies of the round one AFL Record had a $50 Betfair gambling voucher attached.

The promotion, which a spokesperson for the AFL Record said was approved by the AFL, was on the cover of the publication.

It required the user to create an account with Betfair and then spend $50 of their own money on bets before receiving the credit.

In a climate of global financial uncertainty, the AFL and its clubs are giving betting firms plenty of oxygen, something Senator Xenophon predicted would result in some supporters becoming compulsive gamblers.

"This is the AFL taking a narrow, blinkered approach,'' Senator Xenophon said.

"The irony is that many fans will, because of this promotion, get hooked on gambling and won't be able to afford a season ticket or a membership.

"Getting money from gambling like this is fool's gold, because it essentially cannibalises the supporters of the game.''

Corporate bookmakers have moved with increasing confidence into aggressive marketing via top level sports since last year, when a High Court judgment in favour of Betfair effectively opened the gates to a closer relationship between betting agencies and sports.

In October, well-known bookmaker Gerard Daffy described the changed climate as "party time'' for betting companies.

But anti-gambling campaigner Senator Xenophon has a different view.

"My message to (AFL chief executive) Andrew Demetriou is think of the consequences of footy fans getting hooked on online gambling,'' he said.

"There is no such thing as a free bet - these companies are luring people via these promotions. They know a proportion of people will get hooked."

Greg Tingle comment...

As long as its not illegal you can expect many Australian professional sports codes to adopt a business model that has elements of betting, be it Betfair with the AFL, Betezy with the NRL clubs, AIS with the Australian Grand Prix or whatever. Gambling is gambling whatever way we slice it or dice it. Lotto, bingo, scratchies, online bingo, horse racing, online slots or high stakes million dollar poker tournaments. The subject of betting ignites passionate arguments for and against and of course it's a very hot item on the Australian political agenda. I think the readers can guess whether Senator Stephen Conroy will have bet on the AFL footy matches of not!

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