The Australian Football League (AFL) starts the 2016 season with a ban!
The AFL has released details of planned gambling restrictions on the league’s accredited media during this year’s season.
Starting March 24, the first game of the 120th season of the Australian rules football competition, media personnel will be banned from gambling on AFL matches.
Instead of a blanket ban on all matches and events, media will have a partial ban at a time when they are “working or present” at a game and during a two-hour period before matches or during the game itself.
The new rule is to ensure that any information obtained by media while at the game will not be used for betting purposes that risk the integrity of any match or event.
The betting blitz will be enforced on more than 1000 AFL accredited journalists, radio and TV reporters, photographers, cameramen and production staff. Some of AFL’s domestic broadcast partners include FOX Sports, ESPN, Telstra, Sky Television and ABC.
Media betting on major awards including the Brownlow Medal, Rising Star, Coleman Medal and Norm Smith Medal is also prohibited.
The media ban is a response to the league’s concern about the abuse of sensitive information surrounding team selections, injuries and tactics. The AFL believes that the two-hour period and the duration of the match would be the best time to obtain information relevant to the outcome of the game.
AFL commentator and former North Melbourne player David King was placed under police investigation for allegedly placing a bet on Brisbane Lion Lewis Taylor to win a Rising Star award 2014.
King had placed separate bets of $350 and $500 with Sportsbet at odds of $4.50 in September 2014. Taylor pipped Western Bulldog Marcus Bontempelli by one vote, which gave King a profit of $2975. No criminal charges was filed against King but the matter was referred back to the AFL Integrity Unit.
AFL players and officials, including managers and board members, are already banned from betting on AFL matches and awards. Players and officials including Heath Shaw, Nick Maxwell, Simon Goodwin, Nathan Bock, David Hale and Dean Wallis have been sanctioned in previous years for betting on AFL games.
The measure also comes ahead of expected changes to the Interactive Gambling Act allowing punters to place bets “in-play” on their mobile devices once a sporting contest has begun.