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Football Clubs’ Initiatives in Fostering Responsible Gambling

Australia is home to one of the world’s oldest legal sports betting industries. In fact, wagering is so popular in Aussieland that part of the funding for the Sydney Opera House came from lotteries. Now, with such a prominent betting culture, it’s not difficult to see why there is a gambling pandemic in the Australian football leagues. 

Thankfully, however, major stakeholders are rising fast to the occasion. Aussie clubs and leagues, especially, are initiating measures and programmes that will promote safer wagering across the country. But first, what is responsible gambling? 

The concept is a response to wagering addiction problems. In the Australian football context, it relates to the safeguards in place to minimize betting-related risks in the industry. That said, we explore some of these measures below.  

Education and Awareness Campaigns

Clubs use public service announcements and promotional items to pass information about an Aussie casino, which you can also find at the review site. Through materials like billboards, pamphlets, and in-game ads, these teams inform the public about the dangers of compulsive gambling. This approach is mostly for fans coming into stadiums or watching from home. 

For players and staff, educational programmes are more institutionalized. Back in 2014, Professional Football Australia and the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation partnered to establish an education programme for A-league football teams. As part of the initiative, all players in the top-tier division took an induction program on responsible gambling tips.

Since the campaign started, several football clubs have cut ties with sports betting companies offering sponsorships. In addition, former football players who were once addicts have taken up roles as responsible gambling ambassadors. In this position, they’ve organized workshops and seminars addressing players and fans on the negative impacts of compulsive betting habits. 

Partnerships with Responsible Gambling Agencies

Another key initiative football clubs are taking is partnerships with such organizations. Studies suggest that about 1.2 million Australians are at risk of problem gambling. Furthermore, a large number of this group watch or participate in football matches. So, it makes sense that clubs are taking a step to stem the tide of compulsive betting habits.  

This type of collaboration helps organizations in the country amplify their campaign through the large fanbase of football clubs. On the other hand, these teams can leverage the resources available to advocates of responsible gambling in Australia. Both groups can pool finances together and organize training problems for people suffering from an addiction.   

A good example is the partnership with the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation charter. This agreement allows football clubs to promote responsible gaming and financially support safer such initiatives. Interestingly, this partnership cuts across different variants of the sport. 

Quite recently, the Australian Football League penned a deal with the NSW Office of Responsible Gambling. This cooperation led to the mainstream publicity of the NSW Office’s “Reclaim the Game, Be Gamble Aware” program. Football clubs have leveraged this partnership to increase responsible gambling awareness among fans in their locality.

Ethical Advertising and Marketing

Gambling adverts are quite prevalent in Australia. As of 2018, six AFL teams were sponsored by wagering companies and casinos. Today, while some clubs still enjoy bookmaker sponsorship, none of them retained gambling entities as their jersey sponsors. What started as simple football club initiatives is now being adopted by the Australian parliament across all sports. 

Regulations like this are important because they reduce the frequency of gambling placements at footballing grounds. Researchers found that betting adverts during matches and on club jerseys were compulsive gambling risk factors, especially for minors. 

Teams that cannot completely limit their partnership with bookmaker companies are taking extra steps to meet their responsible gambling obligations. For instance, some clubs are diversifying their partnerships by promoting non-betting companies than they do for bookmakers.  

Protection and Support for Gambling Vulnerable Groups

While football teams have a duty to their fans and staff, people react to gambling differently. For young folk, exposure to betting at an early age can have a disastrous effect. That’s why minors deserve even more protection. Clubs recognize this and are taking increased action to help vulnerable groups. 

Here are some of the specific actions in this regard include:

  • Implementing age verification on platforms with such content. 
  • Providing access to referral programs for fans with betting addiction.
  • Advocacy for stricter regulation of responsible gambling in Australia.
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of measures on vulnerable groups. 

Final Thoughts 

Compulsive betting affects a large number of people in Aussieland. Sadly, football serves as the link between most individuals and gambling exposure. However, with clubs now implementing strategies, vulnerable people can have some respite. With responsible gambling tips spreading even faster than bookmaker adverts, a time will come when fans can enjoy the game without the risks of excessive betting.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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