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AFL must do more than ‘virtue signalling’ on gender-based violence

3 May 2024

The AFL is acting hypocritically in taking a minute’s silence at all its games this weekend to highlight gender-based violence while still taking millions of dollars from gambling agencies – when gambling is known to make domestic violence more frequent and more severe.

“A minute’s silence is an important gesture, but when it is squeezed in between multiple minutes of hyper male gambling advertisements and promotions you have to wonder what message the AFL really sends to males.  The AFL is clearly more interested in maximising revenue from creating more gambling losers even if it increases family violence.” The Alliance for Gambling Reform’s Chief Advocate, Tim Costello, said.
“The AFL rakes in multiple millions of dollars from gambling sponsorship and advertising and yet we know gambling is a very significant factor in making gender-based violence and domestic violence worse across this country.”

Rev. Costello said research has shown that family violence is three times more likely to occur in families in which there is problem gambling.

Another study has shown that more than one third of people with a gambling problem  are the perpetrators of physical violence (37%) while another 38% suffer domestic violence as a result of a gambling problem.

“If the AFL really wanted to do something concrete to tackle gender-based problems they need to do much more than simply taking a minute’s silence at each game this weekend, they need to sever their links with gambling companies that are making this violence worse,” Rev. Costello said.
“The AFL is guilty of virtue signalling. Not only do they take gambling money, they have been active participants in lobbying against the proposal for the Federal Government to ban gambling advertising in order to reduce gambling harm.”


Australians lose over $25 billion each year to gambling, the highest per capita spend in the world. 


The loss of this money causes profound social harm including financial hardship, relationship break ups, domestic violence, physical and mental health issues and even suicide.

Tim Costello is available for interview

Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704

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