This concern has finally made it to the very top of the organizaiton, with the AFL chief executive, Gillon McLachlan, acknowledging that there seem to be too many gambling ads currently permeating the sport.
AFL Boss Suggests Organization Doubling Down on Gambling Restrictions
His remarks come at a time when there has been growing opposition to gambling advertisements in the AFL and other sports, with academics, politicians, researchers, and consumers all calling for sports bodies to do the right thing and suspend gambling advertisements altogether.
Yet, this presents its own challenges, as many sports clubs and competitions have grown too reliant on funding from the betting and gambling industry. McLachlan did acknowledge that there are way too many ads as of right now, although he sounded reluctant to push for banning ads altogether.
“I don’t have a problem that other people do around wagering, I just think the volume is too much. It’s in your face,” he told Melbourne radio station 3AW. McLachlan confirmed that his organizaiton is currently looking into a proposal to restrict the number of ads seen during sports competitions and events.
But there are fears, too, including among AFL loyalists. Many people worry that should the number of ads be reduced, this would have an impact on grassroots investment and will leave many sports bodies without the means to nurture a healthy community at the lower tiers. The AFL even objected officially to a reduction in the rate of gambling ads.
McLachlan’s words now seem to not follow up on this previous position, although his words may also reflect a broader change in attitude in the organization. McLachlan was pretty clear on prohibition, though, arguing that the AFL would not back a full ban on gambling. While this may be true, regulators are worried that advertisement does not happen the right way.
Support for Banning Gambling Ads in Australia Ever Stronger
According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, children are still able to see gambling adverts, and this should be avoided. There also seems to be a record support for suspending gambling advertisements on TV and the radio, with 76% out of 3,000 surveyed people by the AFL’s Fan Association confirming that they were all for a ban.
The AFL continues to reassess its gambling practices and policies. A spokesperson confirmed that the AFL is broadcasting gambling ads at particular times of day when children are not able to see them.