AFL gambling issues complex: McLachlan

Whatever the solution to the AFL’s vexed issue of betting, league chief executive Gillon McLachlan is adamant it is not prohibition.

McLachlan admits there is some unease within the AFL about whether the league and its clubs should benefit from betting revenue, given the well-known social problems of gambling addiction.

But he added on Sunday that there was a balance on issues such as gambling advertising at matches.

He said the AFL had worked with TV broadcasters so there was no live odds shown while the game was being played.

“People’s views are different – a number of people have very strong views about wagering,” he said.

“I have a view that is not universal around the AFL … that things that are legal and part of our game, our job is then to contextualise that.

“I’m also real about wagering – we are better off having relationships with wagering companies than not because we get access to information.

“We can protect the integrity of our competition.”

McLachlan added the revenue from gambling sponsorship helped the game’s growth.

“It (the betting issue) is not a dirty little secret, it’s something that’s debated reasonably regularly at the AFL,” he said.

“That’s my position, not universal.”

McLachlan also said there is evidence that betting habits are changing, rather than more people are gambling on sport.

“The data basically is that betting is not growing, it’s just skewing from racing across to sport,” he said.

“The runaway train that people are talking about is not reflected in the numbers, (they’re) referring to a change.

“Maybe that means there’s a different profile of the people who are betting.

“I’m not in denial of the problem … the solutions are not as easy as people would think.”

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