Senator Nick Xenophon names AFL/NRL Australia’s “biggest gambling addicts”, calls for sports organizations to follow English Football Association, sever ties with Australia online betting brands.
For years, there’s been a close relationship between retail and online betting sites, and the sports organizations that make them tick. Its presence has spanned much of the globe, from Europe to Australia in particular. And as usual, whenever gambling is involved, South Australia Senator Nick Xenophon doesn’t like it.
Xenophon is urging all of the nation’s sports organizations to sever ties with Australia online betting brands. He’s not playing nice, either, calling the AFL and NRL Australia’s “biggest gambling addicts”.
English FA Does About Face
The Senator’s undergarments began wadding up last month, when the English Football Association made a bold, about face move. In June of 2016, the English FA signed a long-term contract with the UK’s largest live and online betting company, Ladbrokes. Then, in June of 2017, the FA changed its mind.
According to the NY Times, the FA “has ended its sponsorship deals with betting company Ladbrokes”. It’s nothing personal against the bookmaker, though. It was further confirmed that FA is “ceasing all commercial agreements with gambling firms.”
That’s one band wagon Sen. Xenophon is more than happy to leap upon. Anything with the potential to reduce the rate of gambling in Australia is a plus in his book. Whether it’s disassociating sports from betting groups, or ripping every poker machine from every pub, club and hotel across the land and hurling them into the fiery depths of hell, he’ll be the man to lead the political charge.
Call to Break Ties with Online Betting Sites
On Friday, June 23, one day after the news of FA’s severed ties with online betting sites, Xenophon called for Australia to follow in their footsteps.
“The UK has recognised the potential of gambling to undermine and compromise sport and the harm it can do to fans,” the Senator told AAP. “Some of the biggest gambling addicts in the country are the AFL and NRL because of their deals with gambling companies.”
Xenophon went onto say that, if sports organizations fail to break away from Australia online betting companies on their own, he would move to legislate a ban against the practice. Somewhat surprisingly, however, he added that a “weaning period” of 3-5 years would be appropriate.
Illegal Betting, Match Fixing On the Rise
While the SA Senator’s aversion to all things gambling is well noted, he does have evidence to support his cause. Illegal betting within Australia’s sports industry has been uncovered on many occasions.
Multiple claims of match fixing spread a dark shadow across this year’s Australia Open. Last year this time, an NRL match fixing scandal lit up the headlines. And it was this sort of activity that convinced the UK to eliminate the connection between bookmakers and sports.
In April, Joey Barton, midfielder for Manchester City and Burnley, was slapped with an 18 month ban after it was discovered he’d wagered over 1200 in bets on football matches. Barton admitted to a gambling addiction, laying partial blame on the prevalence of bookie sponsorships in British football.