62% of Australian voters oppose sponsorship of sports gambling, and a measure currently in the legislature aims to ban gambling companies that sign deals with athletes. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
A new measure being rolled out through the Australian legislature would prevent gambling companies from signing sponsorship contracts with professional sports stars, who represent many of the younger generation models.
As its dominance continues, it will spoil the sport even more.”
“The harm is that children’s minds are taken over and they are motivated to become gamers, and many of them will become problem gamblers,” said Tim Costello, senior advocate for the Alliance for Reform of Gambling. “Really, it’s an exercise in grooming by these sports betting companies and we know that in places where the sport has already been corrupted, and as their dominance continues, it is going to spoil the sport even more.”
According to a survey, 62% of Australians are likely to support the measure. Notable sports figures have also used their platforms to condemn the bookmakers recently, adding more fuel to the fire.
Sponsorship of gambling in sports
The poll, conducted by Resolve Strategy, indicated that only 25% of voters believe gambling companies should be allowed to sponsor sports teams, stadiums, events and stars. 62% think a ban should be imposed and 14% are undecided.
Patrick Cummins, a cricketer and test captain, is one of many athletes who wield their influence against what they believe are negative influences. Cummins’ main objection is the use of fossil fuels, but he cautioned about the general risks that have penetrated the sport.
You see the players’ personalities, interests and passions shine through.”
“More than ever, you’re seeing players’ personalities, interests, and passions shine through and they have a bit more of an opinion than in the past,” Cummins said in October.
Meanwhile, Australian mining magnate and businesswoman, billionaire Gina Reinhart, recently pulled out of a $15 million sponsorship deal with Netball Australia after comments from Donnell Wallam, a Firebirds shooter in Queensland. Walma spoke against Reinhart’s father, Lang Hancock, who said in 1984 that Aboriginal people should “reproduce” through assimilation or sterilization.
In 2018-19, during the past year before the pandemic spread across the world, the Australian Gaming Council estimated that the volume of gambling in Australia was $25 billion. $961 million of that total came from sports betting, and the industry paid $6.6 billion in taxes.
It is no secret that sports betting is on the rise all over the world. Las Vegas is almost back to pre-pandemic levels, while travel to the airport 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 dispute with streaming platform Twitch over gambling ads, UK online gambling hits a record high but is still waiting for a belated white paper on gambling reform, and South Korean police recently busted a $3.9 billion Chinese gambling ring.
Nor is there a universal rulebook that countries can follow. Some countries like Spain are very strict in their rules, while others like the UK discourage, but do not threaten, the power of gambling companies.
Whichever direction Australia decides to take in discussing gambling sponsorship, it will do so at an important time. The Qatar 2022 World Cup kicks off in less than 20 days, and Australia is in a prominent group with the second most likely favorite, France. The betting odds will be huge.
The Australian started against the French on November 22 in their first match of the tournament. They will also face Tunisia and Denmark in the group stage and hope to reach the playoffs.