Easton Wood speaks in favour of AFL gambling ad opt-out clause

Crown Resorts is seeking AFL sponsorship deals.
Crown Resorts is seeking AFL sponsorship deals.

The former player says he’s in favour of the clause that allows players to avoid appearing in gambling advertising.

Australia.- Former AFL player Easton Wood has said he’s in favour of a clause that allows players to opt out of appearing in gambling advertising. A number of AFL players have used the clause to avoid having their image used in promotional material for major sponsor SportsBet

Wood, who retired from the game in 2021, has previously spoken out against the prevalence of gambling ads in sports. He said children who watch AFL are exposed to gambling ads to the point where “gambling and the AFL are synonymous.”

Although Wood cannot recall if he opted out of having his image connected with SportsBet advertising during his playing career, he said he would “absolutely” and “unequivocally” opt-out if he had the option today. 

Wood said: “Isn’t it telling that there is a sponsor of something that requires [players] to have an opt-out clause because it can be damaging to somebody’s brand?”

The clause has been in place since 2019, and a small number of players have opted out. AFL Players Association CEO Paul Marsh confirmed this on ABC Radio Melbourne and said that more players may follow suit.

He added that players share financially in these deals, but there are moral issues around gambling for some players which is why the balance has been struck for the opt-out clause. 

Although some AFL clubs have pledged not to accept money from gambling companies, Crown Resorts is reportedly offering sponsorship deals to multiple clubs.

All 10 Victorian clubs have signed up for the “Love the Game, Not the Odds” campaign, which discourages sports clubs from accepting sponsorship from gambling providers. However, ABC reports that North Melbourne, Carlton and St Kilda have not ruled out accepting deals with Crown.

So far, Western Bulldogs and Geelong have declined the offer. Essendon says it has not yet received an offer from Crown, while Richmond, Melbourne, Collingwood, and Hawthorn didn’t respond to requests for comment.

See also: Victorian PM won’t oppose sports betting ad reforms

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