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Ox ‘would love to see a system’ preventing young people from being ‘groomed’ by gambling ads


Former Melbourne Demons star and reformed problem gambler David ‘Ox’ Schwarz accepts that the AFL’s official arrangements with corporate bookmakers are necessary but hopes more can be done to prevent young people from being bombarded with punting advertisements.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, speaking on Melbourne radio, said there are clear benefits for the league to have an official betting partner, adding fans wouldn’t know the difference whether they did or did not.

“By having the relationships we get access to the information so we can actually have enforcement mechanisms for our gambling policy, and because instead of shareholders making money, yes we make some money which we, as a not for profit, reinvest back into grassroots and the game,” he said.

For the most part, The Ox agrees with McLachlan but insists the optics of the AFL’s cosy relationship with bookmakers looks bad.

“I would like to see that if you are below the age of 18 and you get on the AFL website that you are not bombarded with betting advertising,

“I don’t know if that could happen but I would love to see a system in place,

“If you’re over 18 then the advertising can come on, at least then, as a minor, you’re not being groomed, or becoming accustomed to gambling messages every time you log on.”

It’s understood that the AFL earns about $10 million per year from its official wagering partner, BetEasy.

Australians are betting about $10 billion on sports and losing about $1 billion a year, with sports betting growing by 15 per cent last year, making it the fastest growing segment of the Aussie punting market.

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