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Letter to the editor: Betting 'bonanza' during AFL footy festival

Almost a third of Victoria’s sports bettors are men aged 18-24 who’ve grown up believing footy and gambling are intrinsically linked.

Last year, Australia’s gambling industry spent $232 million on ads, excluding sponsorships and in-program content. Ads that create unrealistic expectations and encourage people to think betting is normal.

For many of us, the AFL fixture ‘‘bonanza’’ represents a bright light during a difficult time. For bookmakers, though, it’s an opportunity to make up for ‘‘lost’’ revenue.

Sports betting ads targeting young men dominate the airwaves after 8.30pm – but let’s not kid ourselves, they’re also being consumed by children.

Victoria’s 10 AFL clubs have made a commitment to say no to sports betting sponsorship and to limit the exposure of young people to this risky activity. I urge the community to get behind them – to love the game, not the odds.

Shane Lucas, CEO, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation

This letter to the editor was published in The Age on 4 August 2020.

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