There was a strange moment on the radio yesterday.
I was on my way to collect my daughter from her school, where she’s been helping out with some backstage work for an upcoming production. I had the radio on; SEN sports radio (1116 on the AM dial in Melbourne, for those of you who don’t know) were in the final stages of their pre-match coverage of the Carlton/Sydney AFL game at Etihad stadium. Because betting has become so synonymous with sport in this country, they had someone from Centrebet.com on the phone and they were all eagerly discussing the odds, who was better value and how the “punters” should get on board and have a bet.
After the Centrebet guy finished his spruiking piece, Dermott Brereton made a comment about “encouraging gambling.” There was a moment of awkward silence and then everyone jumped in, all talking at once, and Andy Maher (at least, I think it was Maher) came out with this truly astonishing statement:
They weren’t encouraging gambling, they were encouraging betting.
I nearly drove off the road.
Do we need any clearer sign that the sports betting companies have sunk their teeth deep into our sport and our sporting media? Can someone please explain to me what the difference is between betting and gambling? And why it’s ok for a radio station to encourage betting, but not gambling?