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SportStephenson's $36 bets can lead the AFL to give up millions

22:21  22 june  2019
22:21  22 june  2019 Source:   smh.com.au

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Опубликовано: 22 июн. 2019 г. Stephenson ' s bet to cost AFL millions Collingwood player Jaidyn Stephenson ' s moment of betting stupidity could be the catalyst for the AFL finally to kick its addiction to gambling revenue.

Stephenson was remarking on the fact one of their teammates hadn’t delivered the number of disposals that he had earlier bet on. The initial comment was lost in the jubilation of the victory, but Howe – who is in Collingwood’ s leadership group - followed up with his younger teammate and

Stephenson's $36 bets can lead the AFL to give up millions© AAP AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan faces the media.

Jaidyn Stephenson didn't only back himself to kick goals and his teammates to get the ball. He's also unwittingly backed the AFL into a corner.

The greatest impact of those foolish flutters might not be on Stephenson's season or Collingwood's premiership campaign. More consequential is the conversation that has been created about the AFL's relationship with gambling companies.

It is not an exaggeration to say that bets that totalled $36 could be the catalyst for costing the AFL millions. Or, rather, for the AFL denying themselves millions.

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Stephenson , the 2018 AFL Rising Star, bet on the win and winning margin for Collingwood and the number of goals both he and other teammates would score. None of the bets were successful. On two occasions Stephenson gave money to a friend to place the bets on his behalf and on one occasion

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But this will only happen if Gillon McLachlan and the AFL commission seize the moment that Stephenson, in his feckless stupidity, has handed them and the anti-gambling lobby.

Some AFL officials, particularly commissioners, were keen to make a statement against the insidious danger of footballers betting on games when they were considering how many weeks Stephenson should get.

But if they are genuine about wishing to "make a statement" against destructive wagering, they can start by banning the ubiquitous advertising by betting agencies at the grounds they control – in particular the MCG and their wholly owned Marvel Stadium. The latter venue can remove the ads and replace them with Spider-Man or the Hulk.

You wonder whether those pushing for Stephenson to be sent down the river actually asked the question of whether their organisation's lucrative partnership with sports betting undermined their moral authority.

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"Randall Stephenson has truly made his mark at AT&T, a company that epitomizes innovation and a commitment to connectivity, quality and security in today' s fast-paced global economy," said USCIB Chairman Terry McGraw, chairman emeritus of McGraw Hill Financial.

'As the bets are determined to be lawful bets , it is the view of the Commission that all persons who made a winning bet on any or all of the nine Sportsbet AFL +40 betting markets for round 10 of A Sportsbet spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia the 'affected customers have already been topped up '.

It was an exquisite coincidence that, in the moment after the AFL's general counsel Andrew Dillon announced Stephenson's penalty, an advertisement for BetEasy – the league's sports betting partner – popped up on the AFL website during the live stream.

Many people had noticed, too, that footage of Stephenson kicking a goal in a recent game was accompanied in the background by LED advertising at the 'G with, you guessed it, BetEasy selling their wares.

The argument against such advertising is that the young and impressionable are easily led by the siren call of invasive betting ads and that the invention of smartphones enables dumb betting like never before.

Conversely, one can mount a reasonable argument that a player's decision to bet in contravention of the rules is not connected to the AFL's $10 million deal with BetEasy, that Stephenson is the author of his own debacle.

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The second round of Footymania gives us Monday night football plus a Wednesday night double header and the boys have found plenty of winners for the short week of games. Chapters 0:00 AFL Footy Fill- Up - Round 10 6:12 PORT ADELAIDE v WESTERN BULLDOGS 9 Best bets recap.

Unfortunately for McLachlan and company, this is not how a significant segment of the public sees it, and it's certainly not the view of the anti-gambling lobby led by the no less ubiquitous Reverend Tim Costello, who said on ABC radio on Saturday that he intended to speak to the AFL chairman, Richard Goyder, about ridding the game of what Costello sees as a betting scourge.

Stephenson's $36 bets can lead the AFL to give up millions© Joe Armao Suspended Collingwood player Jaidyn Stephenson faces the music.

Costello notes that the English Premier League cut ties with global betting octopus Ladbrokes, costing themselves squillions. He wants the AFL to follow suit, thus giving up the $10m that BetEasy pays the league in return for promotion at the 'G and Marvel Stadium and exclusive rights to the advertising on the AFL website.

Goyder has pushed the clubs to give up their addiction to poker machines, prompting some – Collingwood and Melbourne most notably – to follow the AFL chairman's wish, with Geelong and others keen to join the exodus.

It is a safe bet, so to speak, that having pushed for Coles (owned by Wesfarmers, the conglomerate Goyder ran) to bail from gaming and for clubs to get out of pokies that the AFL chairman mightn't be a huge fan of sports betting, albeit his league won't enjoy forfeiting the cash.

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The other argument quietly peddled by AFL insiders is that the sports betting promotion is mainly via the broadcasts on television – that's Seven and Foxtel, where the viewers are bombarded by Bet365 et al. Channel Nine, The Age's owner, also has some skin in that sports betting game, as do other media outlets.

Could the AFL make it a condition of their rights holders that they eschew sports betting? This step would be difficult. Challenged by the global monsters of Google and Facebook, local media have found sports betting agencies to be a reliable source of income. If the league did, this would likely mean accepting fewer bucks for broadcast rights.

The AFL, though, have it made their business to advance various causes and social responsibilities – a mission that McLachlan defended with some vigour the other day. They profess to be against racism, for diversity in all forms, against illicit drugs and violence against women.

Gambling has long been the exception, where the AFL's tolerance was zero only for players and officials betting on games, as they counted the money.

Today, the deal with BetEasy is up for renewal, and the AFL can cut a new deal with that outfit or another betting agency. They could accept a smaller sum in return for banning the promotion at grounds (Optus Stadium has its own deal with Bet365). Or they could follow the EPL and cut ties completely.

None of those measures should impact on the AFL's ability to police players via the betting agencies.

McLachlan is a deal-maker and a pragmatist, who tends to seek consensus outcomes. Lately, as a result of the Adam Goodes documentaries and of the fan agitation about security, he's been castigated for not showing sufficient leadership. Seeking consensus – which his forceful predecessor wasn't as bothered about – has been seen as a weakness where forthright leadership was necessary.

Today, with the betting contract up for grabs, McLachlan has an opportunity to make a stand about sports betting. If following the EPL is a bridge too far, banning the LED and big-screen promotion of betting at the MCG and Marvel Stadium – as Geelong have already done at Kardinia Park – would make a powerful statement.

Certainly, it would make a statement stronger than the 10-week suspension of a young, foolish footballer.

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