Most Australian Football League (AFL), players don’t know that they have the option to opt out of having their images used for promotional purposes by Sportsbet, AFL’s partner in sports betting.
The majority of people don’t know they can opt out
The agreement with Sportsbet generates between AU$12 and AU$13 millions ($8.1 million to the league’s coffers per year, 28% of which is paid to players. The league and clubs also give players 28% of all football-related revenues.
The AFL rules prohibit players from participating in any way in activities that encourage sports betting on league games. However, the league’s partner in sports betting can use players’ images to promote brand awareness, unless they specifically state otherwise, The Age reported.
However, most players don’t know that they have the option to opt out of Sportsbet using their images to promote gambling. Some players were contacted by media and expressed reservations about their images being used for betting promotion. However, they did not express that concern with Sportsbet.
Ethical and Past Gambling Problems
Many high-profile players, such as Melbourne’s premiership goalkicker Ben Brown, have refused to allow Sportsbet their images and promote betting on AFL. They cited ethical, reputational, and even commercial reasons.
Brown, who chose to withdraw from the sport for ethical reasons, is not the only one. The media also claims that another prominent player opted out because he was uncomfortable with the possibility of his image being linked to gambling activities, but wanted anonymity.
These two players aren’t the only ones who have opted-out. Agents say that other players also had the option to prevent the AFL from using images of their players, citing gambling issues in the past.
This year’s opt-in rate is still relatively low compared to the less than 4% (or around 30 players from more than 800) who chose not to allow the league’s official betting partner to make them a part of its promotional activities.
The public’s attitude towards gambling, and especially gambling advertising, in Australia, is shifting from one of indifference toward proactive asking for more scrutiny of the increase in betting firms in Australia’s largest media outlets and its effect on gambling harm.
Operators and leagues can expect more restrictions on gambling advertising, as evidence indicates that the current system is ineffective.