SPORTSBET.com.au has come to the defence of the Duke family and vehemently denied it was pressured into donating to the Dakota fund.
Former AFL player manager Ricky Nixon yesterday claimed the Dukes pressured the organisation into donating more money, without his consent.
However, Sportsbet.com.au head of communications Haydn Lane yesterday said several donations were made to Dakota because it was the right thing to do.
Sportsbet.com.au initially sponsored the charity golf day and donated the winnings from a $10,000 bet on Black Caviar to win at Royal Ascot.
“Sportsbet decided to donate some extra amounts over and above our initial contribution direct to the Duke family,’’ he said.
“To be clear, at no time was this done under sufferance or by any request from the Dukes.
“We have absolutely no animosity toward the family or anyone involved in the fund-raising.
“It seems the lion’s share of what Sportsbet pledged has made it through to Dakota, but we’re happy to donate again to help make up the shortfall of what is missing.’’
Mr Lane said “sometimes it’s nice to do the right thing’’ and the organisation simply wanted to do its part to help with Dakota’s rehabilitation.
“They need love and support, both financial and otherwise, from the community.
“I implore as many people and businesses who can possibly help Dakota and her family to do so.”
Several other Bendigo organisations yesterday also challenged Nixon’s assertions that no one cared about Dakota.
Julie Gardner from the Cambrian Hotel said her staff started collecting money within two weeks of Dakota’s accident.
“The people of Bendigo do rally behind their own causes,’’ she said.
“Don’t say the people of Bendigo don’t help, because that’s just a lie.’’