Sport Sport Focus Waleed Aly: Australian sport’s ‘terrible’ problem

Waleed Aly: Australian sport’s ‘terrible’ problem

waleed aly profile
Aly says there are too many gambling ads during sports broadcasts. Photo: Getty
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Gold Logie winner and television host Waleed Aly has slammed the close links between gambling and sport.

Australians lost a whopping $A815 million on sports betting in 2015, an increase of 30 per cent on the previous year, and it is estimated that within 12 years the amount of money lost on sports-related gambling will surpass the pokies, Dr Charles Livingstone told Media Watch.

For those reasons, and many more, Aly – who co-hosts popular TV program The Project – is worried about the next generation given the infiltration of gambling advertisements during sporting broadcasts.

And in an extract from newly released cricket book, Test of Character: Confessions of Cricket Legends, Aly said that “my kids [are] quoting [bookmaker] Crownbet odds at me”.

“I have real problems with the relationship between sport and gambling,” Aly said.

“It really irks me the way gambling has become an inescapable part of the commentary in sport.

“I get it adds colour and is an easy way to gain a snapshot on who’s favourite and what’s considered likely to happen, but I now have my kids quoting Crownbet odds at me. And I just think that’s terrible.

“Sport needs to be very careful because it’s alienating parents, affecting kids and damaging players.

“We’ve seen players suffer from serious gambling problems.”

Aly went on to tell the story of former AFL footballer Brent Guerra, who played for Port Adelaide, St Kilda and Hawthorn.

brent guerra hawthorn
Guerra won two premierships at Hawthorn. Photo: Getty

“I was on a panel once speaking with Brent … he spoke really movingly about the infiltration of gambling into sport and the impact it had on his life,” he said.

“I asked him whether he’d trade his [premiership] flags to avoid having a gambling addiction and he said, ‘Without question.’

“I know that advertising gambling does not immediately convert to a gambling problem, but it’s the way these cultures converge that’s the big concern.

“Federal politics has shown a complete incapacity to deal with gambling as an issue and that’s partly because of very powerful lobby groups.”

‘Kids now see sport differently’

The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation are not happy with the bombardment of gambling advertisements during the broadcast of sport.

The organisation’s CEO, Serge Sardo, told The New Daily: “Gambling advertising is changing the way kids see sport.

“In 2015, the gambling industry spent $A236 million on gambling advertising, making it extremely hard to avoid.

“During major sporting events we are now bombarded with ads that promote the idea that gambling on sport is normal. In the first round of AFL in 2016, one in six ads were gambling ads.”

gambling in sport
Smart phones have made sports betting even easier. Photo: Getty

Mr Sardo added that he was hopeful the legislative loophole surrounding gambling ads would be closed.

The current commercial television industry code of practice states commercials relating to betting must not be broadcast in a program classified ‘G’ or lower between 6am and 8.30am and 4pm and 7pm, or during any program broadcast between 5am to 8.30pm, that is aimed at children.

test-of-characterThese restrictions do not apply during sporting programs or news and current affairs shows.

“The foundation supports calls for tougher regulation of gambling advertising in sports broadcasts during children’s viewing times,” Mr Sardo said.

Test of Character: Confessions of Cricket Legends is published by Echo Publishing and is available for purchase here.

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