It’s one of the most important issues in Australian politics today – but should gambling agencies really be having a bet each way?
Members of the LGBT community and supporters of same-sex marriage have expressed outrage after discovering Sportsbet is now offering odds on the results of Australia’s controversial postal plebiscite.
On Tuesday Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed the plebiscite on the issue after the Senate rejected the same-sex marriage vote for a second time.
The Sportsbet wager poses the questions ‘Will there be a postal vote on SSM?’
Odds are at $1.27 for ‘Yes’, there will be, and is paying out $3.50 for ‘No’ there will not be a vote.
The postal vote is understood to cost tax-payers $122 million and could happen as early as September 12.
A Victoria man was quick to call out the bet citing it was a ‘curious’ moment when he stumbled upon the bet.
Matt Davis said gambling is known to be a commercial form of entertainment to make a game more enjoyable for participants by creating ‘an active element for the spectator’.
‘Queer rights aren’t a game, nor have human and civil rights ever been a game,’ he .
‘It’s outrageous to bet on the odds of something like that and potentially creates an unconscious bias.’
In a post on Facebook he said: ‘My rights – my friends’ rights, my family members’ rights – are not a game; our (the Queer community’s) rights are not a joke for you to gamble on.’
He urged his friends to enrol to vote with the Australian Electoral Commission to voice their stance on the matter.
‘Please take this debate seriously. Our rights aren’t a silly game for you to play with.’
One Twitter user who noticed the bet took to the social media platform to claim: ‘This is probably one of the worst things I have seen all week.’
In addition to ‘Will there be a postal vote on SSM?’ there was also opportunities to bet on ‘How many votes cast in SSM postal ballot?’ with answers ranging from less than 5 million, to more than 13 million and ‘How many in favour of SSM?’
James Kennedy, a member of the LGBT community, who is in favour of the same-sex marriage proposal, said he felt the bet was taking away from the seriousness of the issue but wasn’t disheartened by it.
‘I think it’s trivializing the issue,’ he said.
‘It’s really sensitive to the LGBTI community – however the probability is providing a bias I’m not offended by.
‘Hopefully the odds are in our favour and the gays will get married soon enough.’
One man on Facebook called the bet ‘Rank!’.
A woman used the social media setting to label the bet as ‘appalling’.
‘Our society has fallen a long way when Sportsbet is allowed to run betting on the likelihood of a postal vote happening on same-sex marriage,’ she said.