A national debate threatening to over boil in Australia reached fever pitch on Tuesday with images connected to a horse race being projected onto one of the country’s most recognised and loved landmarks, the Sydney Opera House.
Although the argument on the face of it simply seems to be between those who are looking forward to what is now the richest turf race in the country (the Everest) at $13 million and those who don’t want to see the famous UNESCO World Heritage site tarnished, there is perhaps a deeper issue.
The gambling industry in Australia is a multibillion-dollar one and is becoming more powerful and more persuasive all the time. Australians are now regarded as arguably the most profuse gamblers in the world with an average of almost $1000 lost per year per person – the most of any developed country.
The Everest Cup is only having its second outing this year as a race but has begun a major controversy. Racing New South Wales declared that the advertising of the runners’ colours on the Opera House has nothing to do with gambling and simply advertises the race itself, however others feel differently with betting turnover expected to be massive on this race.
After arguments on national radio and protests over the decision to light up the Opera House, the stunt went ahead with the colours of the now confirmed field lighting up the sails for six minutes on Tuesday night although protesters waved torches as if to try and disrupt the show.
As mentioned above, gambling is a multibillion-dollar operation in Australia and naturally not quite everyone is in control of their habit. Tens of thousands have experienced problems and perhaps at a time when responsible gambling is on seemingly every political body’s agenda, this was a bad call after all.
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Having been immersed in the worlds of sports betting and writing for the past 20 years, Gary Christie has vast experience on the subjects and has provided content for TVG and Mr Green Casino among others. His professional betting covers horse racing in the UK, Ireland, France and the USA.