Gil McLachlan, the outgoing executive of AFL, appeared before the inquiry along with Andrew Abdo, the Chief Executive of NRL, to contest that there would be a financial loss if gambling ads were banned outright. The loss pertains to the sport, and it has been argued that it would be irreversible.
While Gil has acknowledged the dangers of gambling harm, he has stated that over-regulating the same would compromise the game. A lot of his statement is based on the fact that gambling sponsors cannot be easily replaced with any other brand. However, Peta Murphy has expressed confidence that AFL will be able to find other sponsors. Peta Murphy is currently chairing the committee as a Labor MP.
Gill has further said that a ban on AFL gambling ads might drive the market offshore or underground, making it more difficult to regulate and help those who are now stuck with gambling addiction.
The probe into gambling advertisements has come to light after health experts, politicians, and gambling addicts sought a crackdown on such advertisements while also questioning their relationship with the game.
The development comes after the conclusion of the annual AFL Fans Association survey, wherein 76% of the respondents have said that gambling ads should be banned. As a matter of fact, 79% of the respondents want gambling advertisements banned from the AFL grounds as well.
Forty-Four percent of the respondents have said that online gambling on AFL matches should not be allowed. 67% and 62% of the people who were surveyed have, respectively, said that clubs should receive money from such advertisements and AFL should receive any money from gambling.
Barni Evans from Sportsbet casino, on the other hand, has urged to reach a point where everything can be balanced. The Chief Executive Officer of Sportsbet has acknowledged the sentiments around the volume of ads, but he has sought to reach a conclusion as the advertising and commercial activities bring financial sustainability to Australian sport.
Barni has further said that free-to-air television is funded by ads, but a question has to be asked about what the community wants to watch in free-to-air television.
The Sportsbet has reportedly run over the allocated ad time slot of 40 minutes by half an hour, leading to yet another case in hand.