Calls for AFL vigilance on betting ads

As the AFL grapples with problem gambling among players, Western Bulldogs chairman Peter Gordon has expressed concern about betting advertising.

Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon is alarmed by the effects of betting advertising on children as the AFL industry grapples with problem gambling.

Players, coaches and officials have expressed concern about the insidious spread of gambling issues within clubs.

Addiction counsellor Jan Beames last week suggested in a News Corp report more than 100 players and coaches had chronic gambling issues.

Bulldogs chairman Gordon, whose club is in the process of exiting the poker machine industry, says the AFL must also be vigilant on the effects of sports betting advertisements.

"You see seven-year-olds and eight-year-olds who if you ask them who's going to win on the weekends, can give you the standing odds on an 18-point plus victory," he told AAP.

"I know from my days as a class action lawyer litigating against big tobacco, the ways in which marketing can not look like it's directed at children but have an effect on them anyway.

"I think there's quite onerous responsibility on the league and the government to make sure that that's regulated."

Brisbane coach and industry veteran Chris Fagan last week said he had seen gambling problems at every club he had been involved in.

Adelaide forward Josh Jenkins also weighed in, saying he was worried younger players were copying their senior teammates and punting as a way of fitting in.

Gordon said there would always be vulnerabilities within the AFL industry.

"The competition is rightly focused on the fact that we have a group of predominantly young men at the moment who are single and with a lot more discretionary income than they've ever previously had thrust upon them," Gordon said.

"There'll always be an issue that requires education and there'll always be a need to attend and support those who have a vulnerability to it.

"I don't think there's anything new in that and I think there should always be vigilance at club level and league level."


AAP