A majority of Victorian AFL clubs, including three-time flag winners Hawthorn, along with Hyundai A-league premiers Melbourne Victory, have today signed a commitment to protecting young people from the risks of gambling.
Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation chief executive Serge Sardo says six Victorian clubs have now signed the responsible gambling charter.
"Essendon, Western Bulldogs, and St Kilda have now joined with Hawthorn, Collingwood, North Melbourne and Melbourne Victory to spread the word about responsible gambling," he said.
The clubs have signed the charter to launch Responsible Gambling Awareness Week which is being held across the state from October 12 to 18.
Mr Sardo says more than 140 elite and local sporting clubs across Victoria have now joined the Foundation's Gambling's not a Game program.
"The program encourages sporting clubs to maintain a distinct separation between gambling and sporting activities and refrain from displaying sports betting or gambling-related signage in or around the club, and any club with a gambling venue will be required to meet the highest possible standards," he said.
Importantly, signing the charter means clubs have committed to refraining from making sponsorship deals with sports betting agencies which would see them promoting gambling to young people under 18.
Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert says gambling responsibly is the only way to gamble.
"Knowing your limits and remaining within them is an important message we try to drive home to our fans, our players and our staff.
"Re-committing to the responsible gambling charter is a highly visible and effective way we can continue to do that," he said.
Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon says clubs have a leadership role to play in the community.
"We are proud to partner with the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation in this important initiative. As a Club, and leader in our community, we take our responsibility in this space very seriously," he said.
The Foundation is also working with the AFL Players' Association to help educate players from all clubs. Brett Johnson, general manager of player welfare at the AFLPA says the Foundation has important support services and knowledge to draw from.
"The AFLPA is committed to ensuring players are well educated and informed about the risks of developing gambling problems, and they are provided with effective support should they or their families experience problems with gambling.
We will work with the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation to tap into their resources and expertise in this area," he said.
Gambling's not a Game started in October 2013 with North Melbourne and Melbourne Victory the first clubs to join, and Collingwood and Hawthorn coming on board in 2014.
Responsible Gambling Awareness Week brings together the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, the community, industry and local councils to promote and foster responsible gambling
Under the program, clubs commit to keeping gambling away from areas young people are present including club, social and fundraising activities. They agree not to provide gambling inducements for awards and prizes and to promote responsible gambling to players, members and visitors.
Where participating clubs own or operate poker machines, they also commit to engaging with the Gambler's Help venue support program and help services.
Responsible Gambling Awareness Week runs from October 12-18. Go to rgaw.com.au for more.