Furore over mayor’s sports ads ban

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A city mayor in the Australian state of Victoria is banning gambling advertising at any local sports events and encouraging other authorities to do the same.

Tina Samardzija, mayor of the city of Monash, has taken the stance independently,rather than wait for any state or federal decisions. Her anti-gambling policy is thought to be the first of its type in Australia.

But local sports clubs have rounded on the mayor, warning that the loss of revenue could force them to close. She is also being targeted by local venues that rely upon gambling revenue that feel they are being unfairly targeted.

The mayor’s rule is that sports clubs must not display the logos of sponsors who have poker machines. They may currently appear on team shirts, newsletters, websites or billboards around a ground.

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Samardzija has gone on record as suggesting that other local authorities should follow her lead. But the region’s largest venue using poker machines, the Mulgrave Country Club (pictured), that had gambling revenues of A$7.1m  (€4.5m) last year and which sponsors many local sports clubs, hit back.

“We are a non-profit club and only give away our money to local community groups and sporting clubs. Many of them are now concerned that they won’t get any funding.”

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