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Elite athletes get behind Love the Game Challenge

‘Sport should be all about fun – but excessive gambling advertising is diminishing the experience for children by making it seem like sport is actually about betting,’ Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation CEO Shane Lucas said today.

Speaking at a multi-code event in Point Cook to mark the beginning of Love the Game month, Mr Lucas was joined by emerging Hawthorn star Mitch Lewis; Melbourne Rebels’ players Ray Nu'u and Divad Palu; Melbourne United’s Shea Ili; North Melbourne AFLW players Ash Riddell and Jasmine Garner; and juniors from the Point Cook Bulldogs.

The athletes expressed their support for the Foundation’s ‘Love the Game, not the odds’ program, highlighting the significant role community clubs can play in showing kids the true value of sport.

In May, Victorians will be encouraged to show kids that sport and betting don’t have to go together by participating in the Love the Game Challenge, which comprises:

  • turning your phone off for an entire match
  • finding ways to talk about sport without referring to the odds
  • deleting betting apps from your phone
  • making a pact with your mates to not bet on, or during, a game
  • avoiding gambling in front of kids
  • encouraging your local sports club to sign up to the Love the Game program
  • starting a conversation about the risks of sports betting.

Mr Lucas said numerous surveys over recent years had shown that the sports betting industry is out of step with community sentiment, which is why programs like Love the Game are so widely supported, as recognised by its 700+ sporting club partners across the state.

‘Industry won’t do it voluntarily, so the onus is on government and community to protect kids from sports betting promotions and encourage them to love the game, not the odds,’ Mr Lucas said.

‘Sports stars, coaches, parents – we are all role models for the young people in our lives and we can all play a part in severing the connection between gambling and sport.

‘So let’s all take up the Love the Game Challenge.’

Love the Game is Australia’s most prominent initiative to combat the normalisation of sports gambling among young people. Elite sporting partners include AFL Victoria and the 10 Victorian-based AFL clubs; Football Victoria and the A-League's Melbourne Victory and Western United; NBL’s Melbourne United; WNBL’s Melbourne Boomers; Super Rugby's Melbourne Rebels; Netball Victoria and Super Netball’s Collingwood Magpies.

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