At the same time, Jeff Kennett is the biggest hypocrite in the league as well as its potentially largest detractor. At the same time that his ballclub collects more cash from poker machines than any other in the AFL, he lashes out at the perspective of the AFL on sports betting. Kennett described betting as a “scourge” and has taken an active stance against it through advocacy of regulations.
Kennett, a former premier of Victoria, has even described betting as an issue that outpaces mental health as the largest challenge that the AFL faces. He and Tony Shepherd, president of Greater Western Sydney, are both calling for more regulation.
One thing is for sure – AFL betting 2019 numbers will probably be even higher than 2018. More people than ever are getting into the practice of putting a little bit of extra sauce on games through betting. The AFL is officially running odds through Crownbet, one of Australia’s largest sports bookmakers for corporate entities. Fox Footy and Channel Seven both have their own partners as well.
At a business lunch run by Bingo in Melbourne, Kennett said that regulations on betting within the AFL are not restricted in terms of advertising the practice. Gaming machines and casinos do, in fact, have much more regulation when advertising than the AFL, but this does not necessarily lead to the issues that Kennett addressed in his short talk.
Kennett went so far as to imply that children have the opportunity to easily involve themselves in AFL sports betting because of the lack of regulation. He made a direct claim that the AFL’s ads are contributing to children believing that their futures will come from gaming winnings.
Kennett also believes that access to bookmakers through smart phones is a large contributor to what he considers the problem. He stated that players actually cause themselves a lot of trouble because they get themselves into bets that they cannot afford due to boredom. Furthermore, he claimed that easy access to gaming was the reason that many players ended their careers without any cash holdings.
In his defense, Daniel Ward, Brendan Fevola and Brent Guerra have all spoken out in public about their gambling addictions. All three are former players, with Shepherd going so far as to state that betting was a “disease.” He also implied that gaming could actually affect the integrity of future games. Shepherd is a former Business Council of Australia president as well, and claims to be anti-regulation as he pushes for regulations against AFL partners.
The AFL has taken a hard stance against these criticisms. The league put forward its records monitoring all Australian betting transactions and its efforts to stop children from betting. Although it has not directly addressed the hypocrisy of the people leveling the claims against gaming, perhaps it should. Gaming is actually, according to many experts, allowing the AFL the investment that it needs to expand into new markets. At the end of the day, because the same people who are speaking out against gaming are also profiting from it, no new regulation seems like it will pass.
TOP IMAGE: Via Pixabay