More than one punt in modern footy

I haven’t lived in Melbourne for a few years now, but still love getting back home and catching  the odd game.  Having spent years overseas watching football (soccer) and now living in a rugby state, I can still safely say that footy, the Australian variety, is clearly the greatest of them all.  But there is one thing about footy that I noticed this weekend whilst  in the world’s sporting capital that worried me even more than the abysmal showing put on by my beloved Bombers .

What concerns me was the level of promotion of betting on football that currently takes place. It is far more pervasive in AFL than I remember it being on European football and I think it is even more pervasive than it is in League.   I reckon this has to a phenomenon of the past two or so years.  On Sunday afternoon at the MCG, I didn’t need to know that Essendon had blown out from $3.25 for the win at the start of the game to $17 at quarter time to know they were in trouble: the scoreboard used to be enough for me to know that we are a long shot from that position.  It seemed by three quarter time even the bookies had shut up shop on Essendon, no odds were posted.

Driving home from on Sunday evening, listening to the Hawthorn versus North match on the radio, I was entertained with a goal by goal odds update late in the third quarter.  Hawthorn kicked a goal, in to $1.65 – North responds and grabs favouritism back, $1.70 North the win, the commentator tells me.  I used to think that some special comments men were a waste of time, but at least they talked about the game.

The worrying thing about this heightened awareness of betting on football, and presumably the actual increase in punting that goes with it, is the damage it causes to families and society.  Whilst Brendan Fevola may be the highest profile problem gambler in the country, it the thousands of unknown problem gamblers that pose the bigger problem.  A mate of mine’s father was a problem gambler, lost the house quickly followed by his family.  I’m sure his isn’t a unique story in this country who traditionally love a flutter.  I am by no mean advocating a ban on betting on sport, but I reckon some limits on the amount of promotion of gambling during pre-game shows, match day commentary and a complete ban of showing the odds at the ground during the game is a reasonable compromise.

Cigarette advertising was banned from sporting events over 20 years ago, I presume it was because the government was ocncerned by the impact that smoking was having on society, particularly the young kids who were attending the matches, and the associated costs of treatment.  I wonder how long it will be before the problem of excessive gambling outweighs the apparent benefits derived by the AFL and the government from the revenues that it is currently generating.

About Glenn Cummings

Part time sports expert, all varieties of course but mainly Australian Football, baseball, basketball and cricket. Occassional writer, but prepared to offer up opinions on all things sport, community and politics related more regularly to anyone within earshot. Full time worker, which unfortunately limits my time to research other more interesting subjects.


  1. Unfortunately I agree with you.

  2. However, I still wish they put race results on the screen and I’ve long advocated showing a race live at half-time on the “big screen”! Hypocritical??
    The sports are so self-serving now. No race results at the footy and only TAB because they get a good cut. It has been noticeable that there are fewer footy scores from the Course Broadcaster at race meeting recently also.

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