“Why we shouldn’t be surprised by Stephenson’s gambling” says Paul McDonald

Collingwood footballer, Jaidyn Stephenson, is expected to face a lengthy suspension for placing a bet on an AFL game.

In response to the extensive coverage, Paul McDonald, CEO of Anglicare Victoria said:

“Why are we still surprised when a young, successful man with a bit of money behind him decides to place a few bets? Jaidyn Stephenson is the key target audience that betting agencies are trying to entice, and they’ve captured the demographic with great success.

“We are living in a world that is completely inundated with gambling advertising. It’s on our TVs, online and on our radios; it’s one tap away on our phones and tablets – it has infiltrated all elements of society.

“Betting companies plan to get the Jaidyns of the world sucked in. They ask young men to bet above their other priorities by offering a head-spinning number of bet proposals; bet to lose, bet to underperform, multi-bets – the list goes on.

“Jaidyn Stephenson isn’t alone with this problem, gambling and betting odds have become part of everyday conversation and of our cultural norms. Earlier this month elite sportspeople’s gambling specialist, Jan Beames revealed that up to 120 AFL players and coaches are currently battling gambling addictions, and said it is an epidemic.

“Jan is right. The industry is unregulated, unhinged, rampant, and it’s destroying livelihoods. The average sports betting loss per Victorian adult has nearly doubled in the past five years (AGS, 2018). Financial Counsellors at Anglicare Victoria have seen relationships breakdown and families torn apart as a result of gambling addiction – Jaidyn Stephenson himself is said to be ‘distraught.’

“It is the Government’s duty of care to take control of this addiction-inducing behaviour, just as it did with tobacco. A public health approach should be adopted in an attempt to harness our culturally-accepted habit.”

Paul McDonald, CEO Anglicare Victoria.

 

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