62% of Australian voters oppose gambling sponsorship in sports and a measure currently in the legislature aims to ban gambling companies signing deals with athletes. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
A new measure floating through the Australian legislature would ban gambling companies from signing sponsorships with professional sports stars who represent many of the younger generation’s role models.
as it continues to become more dominant, it will corrupt sport even more”
“The damage is that children’s minds are captured and they are being gingered up to be gamblers, and many of them will become problem gamblers,” said Tim Costello, chief advocate for the Alliance for Gambling Reform. “Really, it is a grooming exercise by these sports betting companies and we know that in places it has already corrupted sport, and as it continues to become more dominant, it will corrupt sport even more.”
According to a survey, 62% of Australians likely to vote support the measure. Notable sporting figures have also been using their platforms to condemn betting agencies lately, adding even more fuel to the fire.
Gambling sponsorships in sports
The survey, conducted by Resolve Strategic, noted that only 25% of voters believe that gambling companies should be allowed to sponsor sports teams, stadiums, events, and stars. 62% believe that a ban should be in place and 14% are undecided.
Patrick Cummins, a cricketer and test captain, is one of many athletes wielding their influence against what they believe are negative influences. Cummins’ main objection is to the use of fossil fuels, but he warned of the general dangers that have infiltrated sports.
you’re seeing players’ personalities and interests and passions shine through”
“More so than ever before, you’re seeing players’ personalities and interests and passions shine through and have a bit more of a say than maybe in the past,” Cummins said in October.
Meanwhile, Billionaire Gina Reinhart, an Aussie mining magnate and businesswoman, recently backed out of a $15m sponsorship deal with Netball Australia after comments from Queensland Firebirds shooter Donnell Wallam. Wallam spoke out against Reinhart’s father, Lang Hancock, who said in 1984 that Indigenous people should “breed themselves out” through assimilation or sterilization.
In 2018-19, during the last year before the worldwide pandemic, The Australasian Gaming Council estimated that Australia’s gambling handle reached $25bn. $961m of that total came from sports betting, and the industry paid $6.6bn in taxes.
Problems with regulation
It’s no secret that sports betting is on the rise all over the globe. Las Vegas is nearly back at pre-pandemic levels, while airport travel has never been busier.
At the same time, many countries are struggling to regulate the influence of gambling and gambling companies. Germany is in an ongoing feud with streaming platform Twitch over gambling advertisements, UK online gambling is at a record high but is still awaiting an overdue white paper on gambling reform, and South Korean police recently busted a $3.9bn Chinese gambling ring.
There is also no universal rule book for countries to follow. Certain countries such as Spain are very strict in their rulesets, while others like the UK are discouraging, but not threatening, the power of gambling companies.
Whichever direction Australia decides to go with its gambling sponsorships debate, it will be doing it at an important time. The 2022 Qatar World Cup kicks off in less than 20 days, and Australia is in a prominent group with the second odds-on favorites, France. The betting opportunities will be massive.
The Aussies kick off against the Frenchmen on November 22 in their first game of the tournament. They will also face Tunisia and Denmark in the group stage and will hope to make it to the knockout stage.