Melbourne Football Club is the latest Victorian club to walk away from sponsorships with sports betting companies and commit to furthering responsible gambling practices in their venues.
The club is the ninth AFL club to sign the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation's responsible gambling charter joining eight other clubs including Carlton, Richmond, North Melbourne, Collingwood, Western Bulldogs, Hawthorn, Essendon and St Kilda.
The A-League's Melbourne Victory, the Melbourne Stars and Renegades from the Big Bash League and more than 150 local sporting clubs from across the state have also signed the charter.
Chief executive Serge Sardo says the charter is a key element of the Foundation's sporting clubs program.
"We are working with more than 160 clubs across the state at both the elite and local sporting level to counter the growing culture of gambling in sport.
"Gambling is changing the way young people experience sport but we stand with the clubs who want to send the message that the game is exciting enough, without having a bet," he said.
Melbourne Football Club CEO, Peter Jackson says signing the charter is a very important moment for the club.
"As a former Foundation board member, it is an important moment for me personally.
"The Melbourne Football Club is proud to join the eight other Victorian AFL clubs in signing the charter, and pledging to promote responsible gambling to players, members, supporters and visitors, and to not sign a partnership agreement with sports betting agencies," he said.
Mr Sardo says the sporting clubs program is about maintaining a distinct separation between gambling and sporting activities.
"Clubs who sign our charter refrain from displaying sports betting or gambling-related signage in or around the club," he said.
Importantly, it also requires clubs who own or operate pokies to commit to the highest standards when it comes to operating their venues.
"The charter requires clubs to work with the Foundation's Gambler's Help venue support program which helps train venue staff to identify and support people who might be having problems with gambling," he said.
The charter also requires clubs to:
- nominate champions to promote responsible gambling to other players and members,
- provide education sessions about gambling issues to players and interested club members,
- promote Gambler's Help services to players, members and visitors.