Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s call for a ban on live odds promotion during sports broadcasts doesn’t go far enough, at least, not according to New South Wales Gaming Minister George Souris. Echoing complaints from the usual suspects about how Gillard’s measures would still permit other forms of gambling promotion during sporting events, Souris is mulling plans to ban betting companies from displaying their logos on stadium signage and team jerseys. Even stadium naming rights are among the measures Souris says are under “active consideration” by the local government in Australia’s most populous state.
Souris plans to monitor upcoming sporting events to determine if “incidental exposure” to betting adverts “is pronounced, is deliberate, is frequent, is replacing what other bans” have sought to prohibit. Souris’ proposals would have a detrimental effect on companies like Centrebet and Sportsbet (owned by William Hill and Paddy Power, respectively), but the Blayney Chronicle quoted NSW Sports Minister Graham Annesley saying, effectively, tough noogies. ”Sporting organizations draw revenue from all sorts of sources and there have been … regulations around certain aspects of revenue that sporting organizations have had to adapt to.”
Warren Wilson, CEO of National Rugby League club Penrith Panthers, begs to differ, saying the ban would jeopardize the team’s $1.5m stadium naming deal with Centrebet. “That’s straight out of my pocket … What are [the politicians] giving me in compensation? Nothing.”
Meanwhile, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill is pressing ahead with his proposal to ban all odds promotion during broadcasts, even during scheduled breaks in play (during which generic betting ads would be permitted under Gillard’s plan). Weatherill’s draft legislation would enable the government to fine betting firms between $10k and $100k per violation and repeat offenders could face repeal of their betting licenses. Weatherill claims to have “never had a stronger positive reaction to anything I have done in 11 years of politics” than that produced by his call for a total bet ad ban.
The high-profile onscreen appearances during Channel Nine’s NRL broadcasts by Australian bookie Tom Waterhouse have been assigned most of the blame for the wave of anti-gambling sentiment infecting Australia’s political elites. To that chorus you can add Andrew Demetriou, the CEO of the Australian Football League (AFL), who told reporters on Tuesday that “we’re all paying the price of an outrageous advertising campaign by one individual who’s got in people’s faces.” Demetriou’s lack of specifics was equally unnecessary in his condemnation of “one network” that “didn’t cover themselves in glory either in the way they’ve promoted live gambling.”