Written 5.22.11 :
Australian sports bodies speak out on pervasive and aggressive nature of advertising
Top executives in Australian sporting bodies spoke out at the weekend on their concerns regarding aggressive sports advertising pushed out by online and land gambling companies.
"I think I speak for all of us when I say some of that more aggressive ‘bet now' advertising is concerning us," the head of the National Rugby League, David Gallop, told the Sydney Morning Herald.
”We would prefer to see that in a less aggressive mode. But it's difficult when the media outlets are going to take that advertising anyway, so the sports [bodies] need to be in control of it.”
His opinion was shared by execs from the AFL, NRL, ARU, FFA and Cricket Australia at the annual Tattersall's CEO's Sports Luncheon Saturday, who said they were not comfortable with the intensity of betting advertising, especially regarding live and proposition wagers.
AFL chief Andrew Demetriou said: ”If it's in your face at the football, it can be really off-putting. But let's not delude ourselves; don't just concentrate this on the sports. The newspapers are littered with advertising about sports betting. Let's look at issues across the board, not just in sport. We're genuinely trying to do the right thing. Once sports betting became deregulated … everyone became exposed to it, not just kids at the football.”
John O'Neill of the ARU said that gambling operators had a heavy financial involvement in sports, and that had inevitably given them more power. ”We certainly do express a view if it's in your face, it's over the top. But that's the level of influence [they now have]. There is a source of revenue there.”
Cricket Australia's James Sutherland opined that in order to survive, sports bodies have to maintain their integrity. ”The critical issue for us is that the success of sport is built on the connection between the fan and the sport," he said.
"They need to know this is a real contest, this is the real thing. If there is any question or taint around that then the integrity and value of the sport is significantly downgraded. That's something we're very conscious of. We can't have corruption in our game.”
The sports bodies benefit from sports betting sponsorships, but there have been political and social concerns Downunder regarding the practice.
Speaking at the luncheon, the Australian federal government Sports Minister, Mark Abib, said he supported legalization aimed at tougher laws against match fixing, and that the subject was on the agenda for a meeting with other ministers scheduled for June.