Geelong veteran Harry Taylor says the saturation of betting advertisements during AFL games is concerning for young fans.
Taylor has thrown his support behind Western Bulldogs premiership captain Easton Wood, whose public stand against gambling commercials has placed the issue firmly on the AFL agenda.
The two-time Geelong premiership star says he shares Wood’s concern that the advertisements are normalising gambling for children.
“I’ve got three kids at home, and when my eldest can name a lot of the ads on TV, that is a bit of a worry,” Taylor said.
“It’s certainly something that we need to keep talking about and educating people about.
“It’s not as simple as just cutting them out of the AFL, I can certainly understand that, but more education about gambling in general is a really, really important part of what our society and AFL players need.”
Wood, who led the Bulldogs to a drought-breaking premiership last year in the absence of injured captain Bob Murphy, raised the issue after attending the AFL’s annual player education sessions on Friday.
He said he “couldn’t stomach” the AFL educating players on the dangers of gambling while also allowing an influx of betting commercials during games.
“Every year we are told it is a sinister and dangerous activity because of the associated risks that come with gambling, all of which have proven very real,” Wood posted on Twitter.
“What I can’t understand is that if this is such an issue that we need an annual education session, why – as an industry – do we support the onslaught of gambling advertising you are now faced with when watching an AFL game.
“The obvious issue here is the effect this advertising has on children every time they watch us pull on our boots.”
With the exception of Geelong, all of the Victorian-based AFL teams have signed a charter pledging not to sign partnerships with sports betting companies.
However most continue to profit from gambling, with North Melbourne the only club which does not generate revenue from poker machines.