Rival teams unite in campaign against sports betting ads

Major sporting clubs and local sporting leaders have united in response to community concern about the effect of prolific sports betting advertising on young people in the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation’s new Love the Game campaign.

The ‘Join the club’ campaign includes elite and community level players and administrators, parents, kids, umpires and coaches from a range of codes that have taken a stand to reduce the exposure of young people to sports betting promotions.

Among others, the campaign features Collingwood Football Club’s Brodie Grundy and Kelsey Browne (netball); Melbourne Football Club’s Neville Jetta; North Melbourne Football Club’s Kaitlyn Ashmore; Richmond Football Club’s Shane Edwards; and Western Bulldogs Football Club’s Easton Wood.

‘The first generation of kids to grow up with gambling advertising is the largest group of sports bettors in Victoria,’ Foundation CEO Shane Lucas said today. ‘Almost a third are young men aged 18–24 years, while participation in sports betting by young women is rising.

‘It’s concerning, but unsurprising that young people think it’s normal to gamble on sport given their constant exposure to sports betting ads.

‘Indeed, in 2019 the gambling industry advertising spend in Victoria was estimated at $70 million, excluding sponsorships, in-program content and other forms of advertising, such as direct marketing, frequently used to promote sports gambling operators.’

Mr Lucas said the Love the Game program shows young people that sport and betting don’t have to go together, and informs them about the risks associated with gambling so they can make critical choices as adults.

‘More than 500 elite and local clubs across Victoria are Love the Game partners, united in their commitment to saying no to sports betting sponsorship.

‘We’re proud to work with them to protect young people from gambling ads and to encourage all Victorians to love the game, not the odds,’ he said.

The ‘Join the Club’ campaign, created by SDWM, will run throughout August. Other clubs represented in the campaign include AFL/AFLW clubs Carlton, Essendon, Geelong, Hawthorn and St Kilda; Big Bash League’s Melbourne Renegades and Melbourne Stars; Melbourne Victory Football Club; Super Rugby’s Melbourne Rebels; and basketball’s Melbourne Boomers.

Anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s gambling can contact Gambler’s Help 24/7 for free, confidential advice, support and referral on 1800 858 858.

The Victorian Government has committed $153 million over four years to the Foundation, a statutory authority set up specifically to address the challenge of gambling harm in the community

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