Australian Football League CEO Andrew Demetriou Defends Betting In League
Australian Football League CEO Andrew Demetriou "has defended the league's links with betting agencies," according to the AAP. Demetriou said that the AFL's main priority "is to protect the game against corruption." He made the comments after former Melbourne club champion David Schwarz said that "the AFL was getting drunk on gambling revenue." Demetriou: "I understand why David would say that because he's had significant issues (with gambling problems). I've been at pains to say if the AFL wasn't involved with gambling agencies there'd still be betting." Advertising of live betting odds during sports broadcasts "is a raging issue in the AFL" and the National Rugby League. Free TV Australia, representing all of Australia's commercial free-to-air TV licensees, "wants commentators and their guests to be banned from promoting live odds during a game, as well as for 30 minutes before and after the match" (AAP, 5/21). In Melbourne, Jon Pierik wrote Schwarz said that "he was particularly worried the effect that promoting live odds during broadcasts was having on children." Schwarz: "My biggest issue … is these corporate bookmakers are grooming kids into gambling. People will say, 'Well, how is that happening?' When my [eight-year-old] boy comes up to me and says, 'Richmond are favorites because they are $1.63,' we've got issues" (THE AGE, 5/22).