‘Tone deaf’: MPs call for University of Sydney to return gambling research money

This story by Henry Belot first appeared in The Guardian on 22nd August 2023.

The University of Sydney’s reputation has been tarnished by its partnership with Australia’s biggest sports gambling companies, according to multiple federal MPs who want hundreds of thousands of dollars to be immediately returned to bookmakers.

The university has defended the sponsorship and a spokesperson said the partnership would deliver more useful research informed by de-identified data supplied by gambling companies. They also said bookmakers would not be given any opportunity to “constrain or edit the research in any way”.

The independent MP Zoe Daniel, who called for a ban on gambling advertisements before a parliamentary inquiry recommended it, said the partnership was “tone deaf” given community sentiment about harms caused by the wagering industry.

“This is institutional capture and we should call it out for what it is. It is a threat to the reputation the University of Sydney has developed over the years for the independence and quality of its research.”


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