I don’t have a lot of time for Australia’s moronic obsession with football. I am a badge-carrying member of the Anti Football League who does watch a couple of games each year (with pleasure) but I think the preoccupation with these games suggests something fundamentally rotten with our culture.
I guess its a harmless way of letting off a bit of steam and provides an interest for those whose lives are fairly devoid of interest. ‘Who do you follow in the footie?’- is one way of starting a conversation!
But the AFL and NRL have a more sinister commercial side that revolves around exploiting those among their membership who are addicted to gambling. These groups have formed an alliance to help defeat the government’s eminently reasonable poker machine reforms. These are not the actions of benevolent community organisations supplying a harmless social sophorific. They are the actions of an anti-social lobby group who should be identified by their memberships and by Australians generally for what they are. About 40% of income from the pokies is associated with problem gambling and with the social miseries this form imposes on the community. The claim that the pre-commitment reforms won’t work is inconsistent with the claim that the clubs will lose vast amounts of revenue from this move.
It is a deceit to describe the policy move as a ‘footie tax’. that it ‘aint.
The clubs no matter how they put it have embarked on a course of action that protects this source of income and hence which sustain the miseries this creates. Moreover, the problems created are not inflicted on the community as a whole but specifically on the membership of these clubs.
Are not these sorts of clubs supposed to be organisations that serve the interests of their members? How does opposing reforms designed to reduce problem gambling among club members do this?