AFL has right mix on gambling: Demetriou - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL has right mix on gambling: Demetriou

25/05/2011 06:28:15 PM Comments (0)

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou insists the league's partnership with betting agencies helps improve integrity within the sport.

Demetriou on Wednesday hit out at critics, including independent senator Nick Xenophon, who had attacked the AFL for its promotion of gambling at matches.

It also came as the league faced questions about recent plunges on exotic bets, leading to concerns that playing lists might have been deliberately leaked.

Demetriou said the AFL had long been keeping an eye on such issues, and partnerships with betting agencies only helped.

"It was so bad when we weren't partners that they use to bastardise our players with caricatures, misuse our intellectual property," he told Canberra's National Press Club.

"We decided after lots of consideration that we were far better to be involved with betting agencies so that we could enhance the integrity in our code.

"We now have access to all the betting schedules, all the information that was not at our disposal beforehand."

Recent concerns have erupted over alleged incidents in which a defender has been named in the forward line, after which the odds of him kicking the first goal have plummeted.

Demetriou said such cases could easily be explained.

"A betting plunge which might seem to be a bit unusual could involve a $100 bet," he said.

"It might only be $100 because the bookmaker doesn't want to take a risk with it."

He backed the AFL's efforts to tackle cheating and corruption, noting it had recently hired an investigator formerly with the United Nations as an integrity officer.

"We started this process long before, you know, there was this 'betting explosion' in our game," Demetriou said.

The AFL this week sought to get tough on cheating in the sport, calling on the federal government to make it punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

Senator Xenophon, a seasoned anti-gambling campaigner, has also proposed legislation to ban gambling ads at the football, during commentary as well as exotic bets.

But Demetriou said the senator was without the facts.

"He's more than welcome to come and get a briefing about what the AFL is doing, rather than sitting in the grandstand and taking pot shots," he said.

"We promote responsible gambling, we promote responsible drinking."

With wider poker machine reforms also being floated at the federal level, which the industry said would cut deeply into profits, Demetriou would not comment about the potential hit to AFL clubs.

Nine out of the 10 Victorian clubs have bought gaming licences which will run until 2022.

"Some people are concerned, but it's a community-wide issue, it's not just a football issue," Demetriou said.

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