Gambling Away the Lockdown

It has been a tough year, no doubt. Watching the footy on tv has offered some consolation in a year when - for Melburnians at least - going to the footy has been an impossibility. 2020 is the Year of Lockdown and the Winter without Footy. Many people have had their incomes lost or cut. It's a time of great vulnerability. In the best of circumstances, our pleasures have been curtailed, delayed and put off. In the worst situations, the pandemic has threatened our health: exacerbating existing conditions or bringing about mental illness.

The AFL has a strong and intricate relationship with sports betting companies. It is impossible to watch an AFL game without being subjected to gambling advertisements. Even the footy talk shows are lathered in gambling ads.

A report on the ABC shows that, the idleness and boredom of Lockdown has increased the likelihood of problem gamblers, engaging in their problematic behaviour.

The AFL likes to position itself as being a force for positive social change. It likes to think of itself as being anti-racist and providing opportunities for female athletes. In a recent development, the AFL is to cut its relationship with Rio Tinto, owing to the mining company's destruction of a 46,000 year old sacred site: the Juukan Gorge, in the Pilbara.

Yet, the AFL gets significant income from its inherently problematic partnerships with gambling companies. These gambling companies prey on the vulnerabilities of gamblers who easily become addicted. And the AFL laps up the loot while the gamblers are left to their regrets and debt.

*Image from Australia Institute of Family Studies