“Just a joke” line sounds familiar
Hot on the heels of the Australian Prime Minister’s confirmation of government plans to restrict gambling ads, Sportsbet has released a TV advert starring disgraced Canadian athlete Ben Johnson. Johnson who was stripped of his 1988 Olympics gold medal for the men’s 100 meters when he tested positive for anabolic steroids.
The complaints have been pouring in as Sportsbet is accused of glorifying and celebrating cheating at sports.
Sports Minister Greg Hunt called the ad inappropriate and utterly unacceptable, demanding that it be pulled. Senator Nick Xenophon said it glorified a drug cheat, treated it as a joke and presented this to children.
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) has also filed an official complaint.
Sportsbet has refused to apologise and claims that it is all a bit of fun — sounding awfully like another operator famous for giving offence.
Outraged articles are appearing from news sources all over the world decrying the offensiveness of the advert — while also including a video of the advert, giving Sportsbet a windfall of free advertising. Notice that this article does not. Nor do we even mention what product the sports betting operator is advertising.