In 2014 the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation launched our Love the Game Sporting Club Program in response to community concern about the convergence of sport and gambling. The program was designed to shift our focus away from gambling and back to the love of sport. It aimed to highlight gambling and sports betting as a community issue and inform people about the risks of gambling harm.
Through the program, the Foundation works with more than 300 community and elite sporting clubs in Victoria – including all 10 AFL clubs – to raise awareness of gambling harm and counter the normalisation of gambling in sport. Participating clubs sign a charter that confirms their commitment to reducing exposure of gambling promotion and refusing sponsorship from sports betting operators.
In 2017, the Foundation engaged Kinetica Group to undertake a review of our Sporting Club Program.
The review allowed the Foundation to take stock of the changing gambling landscape, gain a deeper understanding of the needs and challenges of local and elite sporting clubs, assess performance of the program, and identify opportunities for improvement.
Overall, the review found that the program provides good value for money, remains relevant and is well regarded by stakeholders.
Key report findings:
- Sporting Club Program partnerships, particularly at the elite level, deliver significant reach and provide a balance to sports betting advertising. Deepening these relationships and extending commitments beyond sports betting will support these clubs to provide an even greater contribution to preventing and reducing gambling harm within their spheres of influence.
- Aggressive marketing and product innovation, aimed primarily at young men, is contributing to large increases in consumer spending on sports betting. With much of this promotion reaching and influencing children, community concern about sports betting remains high.
- There is an opportunity to strengthen the program through better alignment of the community and elite components, and ensure program resources directly contribute to the overall objectives of preventing and reducing gambling harm.
- There are community sporting clubs with memberships that are at increased risk of gambling harm. This vulnerability should be considered in program design and delivery.
Read the review executive summary.
The review produced nine recommendations to enhance the Sporting Club Program under three key themes:
- strengthen the Charter by committing elite clubs to reduce over time their reliance on revenue from pokies
- better integrate the elite and community elements of the program through a partnership approach and differentiate investment in elite clubs based on their ability to address gambling harm within their spheres of influence and community activities
- re-focus the local club element of the program via new delivery and engagement models to sporting clubs located in vulnerable areas whose memberships are at greater risk of gambling harm.
All nine recommendations have been accepted in-principle by the Foundation, with an exception for community sporting clubs and their associations with venues with pokies. The adoption and implementation of the nine recommendations will be the subject of further consultation with our partners.
The Foundation expects to implement the changes from early March 2019.