Gambling ads to continue during AFL season despite growing backlash

Gambling ads to continue during AFL season despite growing backlash

The industry predicts that the volume of ads will remain steady.

Australia.- Despite growing criticism from fans and politicians, gambling advertising is expected to remain steady during this year’s AFL season. Anonymous insiders in the online wagering industry told the Guardian that the volume of ads will remain the same as companies compete for a larger market share.

Last year’s Grand Final drew criticism for the volume of ads, which have become the most common fan concern, according to a recent AFL Fan Association survey.

The AFLFA said 79 per cent of fans believed gambling ads should be banned from AFL grounds while 76 per cent agreed that gambling ads should be banned from broadcasting (including TV and radio). Meanwhile, 67 per cent of respondents said AFL Clubs should not receive money from pokies or gambling advertising and 65 per cent said gambling on AFL matches should not be allowed at grounds.

A parliamentary inquiry launched two days before the 2022 grand final cited “powerful evidence” of community harm. Evidence presented showed that children can now recite gambling advertisements and identify companies by their brand colours. 

Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory have all supported tougher restrictions or bans on gambling advertisements and Victoria has not opposed the call. High-profile players have also refused to have their images used by gambling companies.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, is one of a number of federal MPs, including the Nationals leader, David Littleproud, who have either called for a total ban on ads or tougher restrictions. 

He said: “The AFL is completely and utterly out of step and it is beyond time for them to either get on board or get out of the way. Change is coming. There is such a weight of public opinion and concern that a government will be forced to act sooner or later. The community is sick of it.”

The AFL’s official wagering partner, Sportsbet, reported a 6 per cent drop in revenue last year, with increasing competition cited as one factor. Since last year’s grand final, Newscorp’s Betr has launched with several promotional offers, and Tabcorp has expanded its digital offering. 

See also: Tabcorp commits to ending primetime advertising

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