The Australian Football League(AFL) has found itself in the eye of controversy after local launched an investigation surrounding bets made on Brisbane Lions midfielder Lewis Taylor winning the league’s Rising Star Award.
The controversy reportedly started when authorities discovered that former North Melbourne premiership player and Herald Sun columnist David King admitted that he placed two bets on Taylor to win the award. Normally, such an occurrence wouldn’t have been treated with the attention it’s currently getting, but King is a media member with potential ties to inside information on who is awarded major medals, hence the decision by local authorities to open an investigation on the case.
According to the Herald Sun, the AFL has since launched its own review of betting protocols involving its major medals. The league’s football operations manager, Mark Evans, told the newspaper that new security measures on major awards would be put in place if it was “deemed necessary.”
“Fair to say we will review, or we are reviewing our procedures around the Rising Star and other awards,” Evans added. “We will make sure we have got those (new measures) in place before this year’s awards take place.”
For his part, King has denied any wrongdoing, specifically on rumors that he was using inside information to place the bets on Taylor winning the “Rising Star” award. Instead of taking that perceived short cut to cash in on his bets, King told the Herald Sun that the bets he made were based on his “own football opinion on this guy’s ability to win the award.”
“I know that I placed bets on Lewis Taylor and those amounts were not out of line with my normal wagering,” King added.
But whether he did or didn’t bet on Taylor to win the award isn’t the issue. The real issue here is that King is a media member with access to information that the public isn’t privy to. They’re called “sources” and any leaks from these sources puts him in a position to use these kinds of information to make his picks.
This fiasco is a pretty big deal to the AFL, too, because it could end up costing the league its status as a sports controlling body. Part of that status allows it to demand money from sportsbooks who take bets on AFL matches and awards. Betting on the sport typically reaches eight figures. That gravy train could derail if the Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation determines that the AFL is no longer deemed suitable to act as a Sports Controlling Body, even if the issue did not directly “identify a breach of the Gambling Regulation Act 2003.”