An article in today’s The Age by former Victorian gaming minister Tony Robinson highlights the need for an urgent investigation into the sports gambling industry, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

Mr Robinson rightly pointed out that sports bodies have a potential conflict of interest where they gain financially through gambling while at the same time they are also responsible for regulating gambling.

ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said the regulators are compromised so long as the sports are dependent on gambling money.

“The cases in the last week where five AFL player agents were fined for betting on different games has shown how vulnerable sport is so long as betting on games is allowed.” Mr Shelton said.

“We know that gambling has led to corruption across many sports.

“We cannot have a situation where bodies policing the gambling industry have a vested interest in ensuring gambling continues to grow.

“A good way to shine a light on sports betting’s corrupting influence would be for the parliament to to hold a Senate Inquiry.

“The fact that Mr Robinson and the current Victorian Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Jane Garrett, both share deep concerns about the nature of gambling regulations in Australia should sound alarm bells with all parliamentarians.

“The ACL believes a Senate inquiry will shine a light on the encroachment of gambling that is taking the fun out of Australian sport and socialising children into gambling.

“It is particularly concerning for parents watching the footy with their children to have the commentators throwing to gambling industry figures for “updates” on the odds.

“This issue is an example of where principled public leadership is needed in the face of powerful vested interests in the gambling industry.”