Online bookmaker Sportsbet has come under fire for offering odds on the legalization of same-sex marriage in Australia.
ABC.net.au reported that Sportsbet has withdrawn its postal survey on Australia’s same-sex marriage from the market after drawing flak on social media and prominent ‘Yes’ campaigner and Sydney MP Alex Greenwich.
The Australian bookmaker ran advertisements related to the same-sex marriage postal survey on various platforms including Twitter and Instagram. Their campaign, according to the report, dates back five years ago, checking the public pulse on how Australians will cast their votes on the issue.
Sportsbet’s campaign, however, ended last Wednesday evening after it informed punters that it will no longer accept bets on the issue.
In a carefully worded statement, Sportsbet said that it “respects that same-sex marriage is an important social issue.” But the firm insisted that it didn’t do anything wrong since the bookmaker had always offered bets on political issues.
The firm said that they would had stopped the postal survey years ago if only people had informed them that it was a problem.
“I think the postal vote is distressing people, not the market, because this has been here for five years.”
Greenwich, however, urged Sportsbet to do more than just pulling the plug on the offering. If Sportsbet is really sincere about the welfare of the LGBTI, Greenwich suggested that the company should fund the LGBTI counseling services.
“To vote on the validity of some Australians’ relationships is bad enough, but to bet on them is a whole new low,” Greenwich said. “I think Sportsbet, to be making money on this process, is deeply concerning.”
The good thing about Sportsbet’s controversial market is that it provided a glimpse on how Aussies will vote on the postal survey.
At least 62 percent of the bets were placed in the ‘Yes’ campaign before Sportsbet closed the market.
“If the sentiment from our customers is any guide, the Yes vote will be the winner in the postal vote and it’s becoming more and more apparent every day,” Sportsbet.com.au’s Christian Jantzen told News.com.au.