Gambling Ruins AFL Players’ Lives, Says Former Aussie Rules Footballer

  • The number of AFL players lives impacted by gambling is "concerning"
  • It's not up to the AFL to solve the problem, says former Aussie rules player
  • SkyBet has launched a responsible gambling program for English Football Leaguers
3D rendering of Aussie football field
Former Aussie rules footballer says gambling is ruining AFL players’ lives.

Players are feeling the pressure

A former professional Australian rules footballer has spoken out to say that the lives of Australian Football League (AFL) players are being ruined by gambling.

Matthew Lloyd was speaking during Footy Classified, an Aussie TV program, when he made his comments. His remarks followed after an AFL player was pressured to repay a gambling debt during a training session, reports Wide World of Sports.

Lloyd believes gambling is becoming a growing issue within the sport and said that it’s “concerning” to him.

I noticed as I was retiring, the amount of players who were becoming addicted to gambling and their lives were being destroyed by gambling. I had players who I’d ask, ‘do you want to come for lunch?’ They’d say, ‘no, it is too expensive that place.’

He went on to say that they then bet their money on a poker machine or the horses without too much thought. Yet, in the opinion of Chris Judd, another former Aussie rules player, it shouldn’t be seen as the AFL’s problem to solve.

“That’s dis-empowering for the players, to say ‘you’re not responsible for your own actions’,” he said.

Instead, it should be down to the players to take the necessary action needed to get help to control their gambling problems.

Responsible gambling

In a bid to boost education among all English Football League (EFL) clubs about the risks of gambling, Sky Bet launched a responsible gambling campaign last May. It invested £1m ($1.26m) in the program’s launch.

At the time, it was noted that Epic Risk Management, on behalf of Sky Bet, would present information to players and staff during a day’s training on gambling-related problems.

Richard Flint, then the CEO of Sky Betting & Gaming, said that the gambling betting company wanted to do its part in reducing harm related to gambling. He added that “I firmly believe that responsible operators can add value to sport through partnerships like this.”

Elsewhere, a report from April suggests that casinos could use technology to alert players to stop gambling if they spend too much or spend too long betting. Ian Proctor, another former CEO of Sky Bet, has also said that technology can play a role in protecting people from spending more than they have to gamble. However, this may be easier said than done. After all, it can be very easy to ignore the warnings.

There are, of course, numerous measures being put into place aimed at helping problem gamblers whether it’s through gambling operators or sporting organizations. And while it isn’t necessarily up to those, such as the AFL, to solve the problem, they can still assist gamblers to get the help they need when gambling becomes a problem.