Fearless 2019: Gambling and the AFL, some thoughts.

The curse of gambling hits the AFL but only a selective response takes place.


The AFLPA had already accused Jan Beames, noted anti-gambling counsellor who had helped David Schwarz kick the habit, of being a ‘disgruntled onlooker’. Patrick Dangerfield, referring to the concept of confidentiality, voiced those words as AFLPA President. Meanwhile young Pie Jaidyn Stephenson gets hit with a 10 week ban for placing $36 worth of bets on games in which he appeared. Bets that invariably go to the integrity of the game.


Beames had every right to react (and perhaps take it further) and Dangerfield, whose words are generally well-considered, left many AFL pundits surprised by the brazen nature of the comments. There are no doubt more complexities to this issue.


Sit any 19 year old footballer next to 10 of his best schoolmates/friends and he will arguably be earning ten to twenty times as such. This coupled with a routine that demands flexibility and no wonder the gambling issue becomes the perfect storm even when the game’s revenues are substantially boosted by revenues from gambling company sponsorships.


The AFL will not remove all gambling sponsorship. It’s that simple. What happens if it did arguably becomes a mix of increased club membership prices, increased admission prices to games and especially finals. However, interestingly most ex-players now working in the media and sought out for opinion will tell you that the modern player is that well educated on the effects of gambling that how a Stephenson situation could arise is beyond them.


If ever there was a silver lining to the issue, it comes in the form of Easton Wood who as part of the AFLPA executive and Western Bulldogs captain offered to take a pay cut to help the AFL wean itself off the gambling revenue bosom. I personally hope Easton Wood’s view catches on and that the AFLPA apologizes to Beames as her good work will still be needed well into the future.


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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  1. Ken Richards says

    Fearless, it is an axiom that it is most difficult to convince someone of the root of a problem when that person’s income is dependent on his not understanding that a problem exists. No doubt this is the problem that Dangerfield has experienced, hence his intemperate words. It is a source of some hope that Easton Wood has shown himself to be made of better stuff.

  2. Growing up in the fifties and sixties we were, thanks to television shows such as MAVERICK, convinced that gambling could be both lucrative and fun. Going to the races during the Easter holidays at Oakbank and placing bets was also fun,especially if your horse won. A little win here and there and you were hooked.

    Nowadays, you can bet on almost anything – just gamble responsibly (HA HA).It’s well known that after a few wins it’s hard to stop. Fortunately I was never interested and don’t put money on anything.

    Money raised for the AFL from the gambling advertisements reminds me of the hypocrisy of the Government encouraging the anti smoking agenda whilst collecting funds from tobacco taxes.

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