Gambling advertising is causing serious concern for fans of the Australian Football League (AFL), the findings of the annual AFL Fans Association survey revealed.
Concerned about Their Children
The survey conducted among almost 3,000 respondents and reported by The Age revealed that 47% of them believe gambling advertising is the most cause of concern, leaving historically top-ranked umpiring issues and rule changes second and raising more questions about the need for further regulation in the sector.
According to the survey findings, “in addition to the recognized issues of problem gamblers destroying families, there is concern about the normalization and grooming of children as future gamblers due to the sheer volume of gambling advertising” that is bombarding them while watching football.
According to 79% of the respondents, gambling advertising should be banned from grounds, 76% would support a ban from broadcasting, and 62% believe that the AFL should not receive any revenue from gambling advertising.
“Whilst there is some recognition of the need for responsible gambling and fans’ right to gamble on AFL if they wish, there is a clear consensus that the volume of gambling advertising is morally inappropriate and should be banned given the social and family impacts,” the survey stated.
AFL against Further Regulation
Against the idea of further restrictions, the AFL issued a statement reiterating the benefits of its wagering partnership in terms of implementing robust integrity measures and its ability to invest back into the game.
An AFL spokesman also outlined that the league “has strict restrictions surrounding the times that gambling advertising is permitted and have reduced the amount of wagering branding and signage at grounds, [while] players, coaches and officials are not permitted to encourage, induce, advertise or promote betting” on events administered by the league.
AFL’s current sponsorship deal with Sportsbet is worth between AU$12 million ($8.1 million) and AU$13 million ($8.7 million) a year of which 28% is paid to the players. The deal also allows AFL’s partner to use player image rights for promotional purposes.
Devising a ‘Planned Approach’
AFL Fans Association’s president Ron Issko believes that if the league, its various stakeholders, fans and broadcasters sit together, they will be able to devise “a planned approach” how “to reduce the ads over a period of time” initially and eventually eliminate them,” suggesting there will be ways to compensate the AFL for the lost revenue.
The survey comes during the ongoing inquiry into online gambling harm led by Labor MP Peta Murphy and is likely to add fuel to the need for further regulation in the sector while major sports bodies, including the AFL and NRL, are strongly opposing the possibility of new restrictions.