The biggest club in the AFL is putting its considerable weight behind the responsible gambling message by joining forces with the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.
Collingwood Football Club has formed a partnership with the Foundation to encourage responsible gambling among its players, members and the wider community.
Star midfielder Luke Ball and powerful forward Travis Cloke will spearhead the initiative as responsible gambling ambassadors.
Given the current community debate around sports betting advertising and live odds, Ball says the time is right for the club and its fans to support responsible gambling.
"Responsible gambling is something the whole community needs to support. We want our fans to be aware of the risks and adopt a safe and balanced approach to gambling," said Mr Ball.
Collingwood chief executive officer Gary Pert says the partnership is a fantastic opportunity to respond to community concern about gambling and believes the club can play a significant role in raising awareness.
"With more opportunities to gamble than ever before, and the rapid rise in sports betting advertising, we are concerned the game is changing. We want fans, particularly young fans, to enjoy the game the way we did when we were young," said Mr Pert.
Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation chief executive officer Serge Sardo says the partnership will help the Foundation reach a large and important audience.
Collingwood boasts over 74,000 members and more than one million supporters.
"Our partnership with Collingwood Football Club will help the Foundation raise awareness about responsible gambling to football fans of all ages, particularly young men aged 18-35 who are at risk of developing a problem," said Mr Sardo.
"Partnerships with sporting clubs strengthen the Foundation's community education program, and we are excited to be in negotiations with several organisations to spread responsible gambling messages as widely as possible," said Mr Sardo.
The Foundation works with government, the gaming industry, community and sporting organisations to promote responsible gambling and provide support services to Victorians experiencing gambling problems.
Free, confidential help is available for gamblers and their families, 24/7 through Gambler's Help line 1800 858 858 or Gambling Help Online.