Twenty teens got the rare opportunity to play ball with Melbourne Victory stars Adrian Leijer, Matthew Foschini and Nick Ansell in a special training session on Monday 8 July 2013.
Tapping into the positive role sport plays in people’s lives, the event was organised by the Foundation in partnership with Melbourne Victory Football Club to raise awareness about the risks of gambling to young people.
Melbourne Victory captain and responsible gambling ambassador Adrian Leijer led a lively discussion with the group about the risks and realities of gambling, followed by a fun filled football session.
“Helping young people develop their football skills is a great way to make a difference in the community. I want kids to love sport as much as I do, and I want them to be aware of some of the risks that sometimes surround the sports we love, such as gambling,” said Mr Leijer.
Foundation chief executive officer Serge Sardo said young people are particularly vulnerable to the increased availability and accessibility of gambling, particularly online social and simulated games.
“When young people are constantly exposed to gambling and sports betting advertising they can see it as normal, increasing the risk of developing problems,” said Mr Sardo.
The passionate young football fans aged 13-19 years, are involved with the Centre for Multicultural Youth, an organisation that works with refugee and migrant people to increase their participation in sport and recreation.
“Sport provides a great way to connect with the community about responsible gambling, and sporting role models are ideal ambassadors to spread these messages, especially to young people” said Mr Sardo.