April 14, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – An ex-cricket star in Australia is generating a storm of controversy over his recent efforts to sign up his fans to an online gambling site.

Shane Warne used his Twitter account to promote popular gaming site 888; specifically, he tweeted that his followers could get eight dollars in free poker money if they signed up to the site.

Regarded as one of Australia’s all-time cricketing greats, Warne’s actions have triggered a barrage of criticism from anti-gambling groups. There was nothing illegal in the action, and Warne is sponsored by 888; all the same, the story is creating a sensation in Australia.

It’s tempting to dismiss the news as simply more anti-online gambling rhetoric from spotlight-hungry “moral” crusaders, of the sort that happens regularly in the U.S. However, the fallout could cause damage to other online gambling business deals in the nation: “The National Rugby League in Australia said it is no longer pursuing a relationship with FullTiltPoker.net on advice of the government according to The Australian,” reports CardPlayer.com.

“This news follows on from a recent attack by Betfair’s chief executive Andrew Twaits in Australia where he blasted his poker rivals over the promotion of their products in Australia which he described as ‘illegal’.”

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