The NRL And AFL Just Signed Massive Gambling Sponsorships Despite Calls For It To Be Banned

Gambling big dog Tabcorp has signed on to sponsorship agreements with clubs in the NRL and the AFL despite the CEO stating that gambling advertising has “gone too far” earlier this year.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Tabcorp has made deals with the Brisbane Broncos and Parramatta Eels — in addition to existing deals with the GWS Giants and Brisbane Lions. Ironically, this is despite comments made by Tabcorp’s CEO Adam Rytenskild in April, when he publicly supported the ban on gambling advertising following the results of an inquiry into the harm caused by online gambling.

The report, which was led by the late MP Peta Murphy and the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, provided 31 public health recommendations to help gambling harm reduction but the main suggestion was a “phased, comprehensive ban on online gambling and advertising within three years.”

Rytenskild referred to the inquiry as a “line in the sand moment” for the gambling industry.

“The proliferation of gambling advertising, we believe, has gone too far,” he said, echoing his support for the inquiry.

“This is not good for the broader Australian community, and it’s not good for the long-term sustainability of the wagering industry. Regulation of the industry is rightly an increasing focus for the government and for the community.”

In October, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the gambling industry had made an offer to stop putting gambling ads on football jerseys, instead pivoting to create content with the teams.

However, at the time, MP Peta Murphy said it wasn’t enough.

“While any reforms are welcome, what the evidence clearly shows is that nothing short of a complete ban on advertising is needed to tackle the scale of this problem,” she said, per The Sydney Morning Herald.

Anti-gambling advocate Reverend Tim Costello mirrored her stance, saying that he thinks this change in tune is a display of “a bucketload of hypocrisy” and a self-interested effort to use more creative ways to “saturate the public mind” with gambling advertising.

Since the inquiry, there has been growing interest in banning online gambling advertisements by politicians.

Earlier in December, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury Andrew Leigh came out in support of his late colleague’s initiative to ban gambling ads and is the most senior member of parliament to do so.

He even suggested such a ban should be named after her so that they could “forever redefine the term ‘Murphy’s law’”.

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