‘Responsible gambling’ ad featuring A-League player charged over alleged betting corruption pulled down

The NSW government has pulled down a “responsible gambling” ad featuring a Macarthur Football Club player who has been charged over alleged betting corruption.

In February, midfielder Kearyn Baccus was the star of a Liquor and Gaming NSW campaign designed to raise awareness of gambling issues.

He is one of three players from the south-west Sydney football club, including 33-year-old captain Ulises Dávila and 27-year-old Clayton Lewis, who were arrested and charged on Friday following an investigation into alleged yellow card manipulation.

NSW Police say Mr Dávila, who is originally from Mexico, had been taking instructions from a man— believed to be involved in a criminal group in South America — to organise yellow cards to occur during certain points in A-League matches.

The three teammates were arrested and charged on Friday.(Supplied: NSW Police)

It is alleged Mr Dávila recruited his two teammates to participate by paying them $10,000.

Police said the alleged offending occurred during two games in November and December 2023, and that there were failed attempts during two matches in April and May this year.

Club pledges to raise awareness

The ad on GambleAware NSW’s Facebook page was captioned: “Kearyn Baccus from Macarthur FC shares how you can tell if you are overdoing it when it comes to betting.”

In it, the 32-year-old tells people to reach out for help if betting is making them feel stressed, anxious, or depressed.

The video was removed less than an hour after the ABC sent questions to Liquor and Gaming NSW.

The club, along with the Sydney Swans, entered a partnership with the Office of Responsible Gambling (ORG) in 2021, which meant their games were free of betting advertisements.

In a statement ORG said it “is aware of the issue and is considering what appropriate action, if any, is to be taken under the terms of its agreement with the club.”

It also said any social media posts incorporating content from one of the players allegedly involved have been removed.

a soccer player from macarthur fc kicking the ball on a pitch

In the ad, Kearyn Baccus tells people to seek help if gambling is making them stressed or anxious.(Supplied: GambleAware NSW)

Macarthur FC pledged to raise awareness of gambling issues and turn down gambling sponsorships.

Numerous players from the club have since appeared in Reclaim the Game campaign ads.

On Friday, Football Australia issued the three players no-fault suspensions.

They were all granted conditional bail by police and are set to face court in the coming weeks.

Mr Dávila has been charged with a number of offences, including two counts of engaging in conduct that corrupts the betting outcome of an event and facilitating conduct that corrupts the betting outcome of an event.

Mr Lewis and Mr Baccus have both been charged with participating in a criminal group and engaging in conduct that corrupts the betting outcome of an event.

NSW Police said a fourth player who is currently out of the state is also wanted for questioning over the alleged betting scandal.

The ABC has contacted Macarthur FC for comment.

Posted , updated 

Source: abc.net.au

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