Betting ads on Network Nine leaves cricket spectators furious

December 27th, 2008 - 6:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Dec 27 (IANS) Online betting agency Betfair’s ads on Nine Network during the Boxing Day cricket Test between Australia and South Africa has caused a furore. Anti-betting campaigners are furious because it is exposing children to gambling.Cricket Australia (CA) and Betfair entered into a commercial partnership Wednesday for the 2008-09 summer. As per the contract, Betfair will receive at ground signages during the domestic three mobile Test Series versus South Africa, as well as the Commonwealth Bank One Day International Series. In turn, Betfair will support the relationship through an association with Nine’s cricket coverage.

But now Betfair ads, including one featuring former Aussie captain Richie Benaud, has left the audiences angry.

The Australian reported that World Vision head Tim Costello and South Australian senator Nick Xenophon were shocked to see Betfair’s advertising billboards at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the venue of the Boxing Day Test.

“You’ve got families and kids here. Of course gambling is part of life, but I think when it’s a family cultural event like the Boxing Day Test, the advertising is inappropriate,” Costello was quoted as saying by the daily.

Costello also said that he was surprised the way Benaud quoted Betfair’s odds during his commentary on the Nine Network.

“The truth is we know that gambling addiction breaks up families, causes crime and comes at a huge social cost,” Costello said.

Xenophon, who was elected as a South Australian senator at the last federal poll largely on an anti-gambling platform, termed the online gambling as “wild west” and called on the government to impose regulations on the broadcasters.

“Online gambling such as Betfair has the potential to deliver the next wave of problem gamblers. There’s very little regulation in relation to advertising. Gambling advertising ought to carry with it warnings, and we ought to be looking at restrictions similar to those that apply to cigarettes and alcohol,” he said.

Betting has been a cause of concern in cricket. In 2000, South African captain Hansie Cronje was banned from cricket for life after admitting he took bribes from bookmakers to fix games.

And Shane Warne and Mark Waugh were fined by the CA after being offered inducements to give pitch and weather reports on Australia’s tour of Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 1994.

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