Banned for three matches
Five players in the Victorian Football League (VFL), as well as a single official have drawn the wrath of the Australian football authorities.
The six had breached the betting rules during the league’s 2008 season. They have receive bans of as many as three games for 2019. There is no indication as to how many of the five players were given three-match bans.
None of the banned players had previously played in the Australian Football League (AFL). Four of them had used a third-party corporation to use their personal details to operate an online gambling account in their name. This was in violation of the AFL regulations.
In a statement, the VFL said: “While they did not personally place any bets, they handed over their personal details and these accounts placed bets on VFL/AFL matches.
“All VFL players and officials receive regular gambling education and any player or official who is found to be in breach of VFL rules will be sanctioned accordingly.’’
Both officials and players in the sport are bound by strict rules and regulations involving gambling. Players are not able to place any bets on the league they are part of. But that hasn’t stopped some from violating the rules.
The AFL punished four AFL players with sanctions in 2007 for breaking gambling rules.
In 2010, six figures from the AFL were found to be in breach of league rules. Among the six were an assistant coach and a goal umpire.
In a 2011 betting scandal, one player was fined and another handed an eight-match ban. Also in 2011, an assistant coach for Essendon was banned for 14 matches after he made three bets on games in the AFL, including one game involving his own team.
Former AFL player Jake Melksham was fined $10,000 for giving misleading info to investigators who were looking into his betting account’s activity.
Creating an integrity unit
Australians per capita gamble far more than any other nationality in the world. Their losses per adult in the country equate to about US$1,000 annually. Singapore is a distant second in the world rankings for average losses per capita of US$650.
In total, Australians make more than $24bn worth of bets each year. Approximately a third of all Australians gamble online. There is also a substantial illegal gambling market worth about $1.4bn annually.
As a result of these high levels of gambling, a number of measures are being taken to decrease gambling dependency. For example, a sports betting integrity unit has been created to try and stamp out match-fixing and other forms of cheating.
A lot of high-ranking officials in Australian sports have concerns about the extent of corruption and potential instances of match-fixing.
Other moves to combat problem gambling include changes in advertising. A lot of gambling companies have been pushing the boundaries with their advertising campaigns, and have received numerous hefty fines. However, often times the reward of running these campaigns outweighs the size of the ban.
Gambling companies are now banned from advertising during live televised sporting events in Australia before a certain hour. However, there have also been calls for a blanket ban on gambling advertising, similar to what is happening in Italy.
There is a new policy in place for problem gamblers that allows them to go on a self-exclusion list with financial institutions. This prevents them from depositing funds with any gambling-related platforms.
At the moment, while a problem gambler can excuse themselves from a particular online gambling platform, there is nothing to stop them going to a different company to get their gambling fix. The new block on processing payments cuts out the problem on a more fundamental level.