Australia is used to its MPs and officials bickering over what to do regarding the country’s gambling industry. This time it’s South Australian senator Nick Xenophon’s turn. His criticism of the country’s Aussie Rules football league has meant that he’s at loggerheads with the AFL’s boss Andrew Demetriou.
It came after Demetrious had commented that to combat match fixing a wider variety of odds should be available through legal channels. Xenophon has obviously taken this as the AFL chief encouraging Internet betting.
Xenophon called the AFL’s approach to gambling “narrow minded and blinkered” due to the various deals that they’ve signed with betting companies.
Demetriou’s rebuke was as follows, “I’ve never met Nick Xenophon and it’s very easy to take pot shots about what we do, but he’s more than welcome to come and get a briefing about what the AFL is doing to protect the integrity of our code, rather than sit in the grandstand and take pot shots.”
We’d quite like to arrange the meeting if that’s okay Andy? You can use the Bodog fight ring!
He continued: “We’re open to sharing all the information, as we’re doing with the Federal Government. We started this process long before there was this ‘betting explosion’ in our game.
“Over the last three years we’ve invested heavily in widening our investigative powers, putting on people – we’ve recently hired a fellow called Abraham Haddad, an investigator from the UN – who have extensive powers to investigate under our rules.”
There was more. Xenophon, obviously wanting to have the last word, said, “He talks about concerns for gambling, but the AFL still reaps millions of dollars as a result of commercial arrangements with sports betting agencies.
“Exotic bets need to be banned, if not scaled back significantly, and so does the practice of having the odds given during sporting games by commentators.”
If it came to it we’d back an AFL guy in an all out fight. Anyone that’s seen the sport will know why!