Victoria’s 10 AFL clubs and AFL Victoria have renewed their Love the Game (LTG) partnerships through to October 2024, by which time all will have been free of sports betting sponsorships for at least five years.
Making the announcement today, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation CEO Shane Lucas said sports fans in Victoria were fed up with betting ads and their unrealistic portrayal of gambling as a risk-free activity.
‘It is deeply concerning that young men aged between 18 and 24 years are the largest group of sports bettors in Victoria at 32 per cent, and that participation in sports betting by young women is rising.
‘It’s no coincidence that this is the first generation to have grown up with wall-to-wall marketing of sports gambling products,’ Mr Lucas said.
According to Nielsen, the gambling industry spent a staggering $271.3 million on advertising in Australia in 2020, not including sponsorships or in-program content.
In the same year, a La Trobe University survey of 17,000+ fans across Victorian sporting clubs found an overwhelming majority – 88 per cent – think young people are overexposed to sports betting ads. A more recent AFL Fans Association survey revealed gambling advertising as the second highest concern, after umpiring/rule changes.
‘It’s clear that Victorians do not want our kids growing up to think it’s normal to bet on sport,’ Mr Lucas said. ‘I’m proud that our AFL clubs are demonstrating not only that they appreciate the concerns of fans, but that they understand the risks associated with sports betting, especially among young people.’
Established in 2014, the Foundation’s Love the Game Sporting Club Program is Australia’s largest (650+ partners) and longest running initiative to combat the normalisation of sports gambling. It aims to reduce the exposure of young people to sports betting promotions and equip them with the skills to think critically about the risks associated with gambling.
QUOTES ATTRIBUTABLE TO AFL CLUBS AND AFL VICTORIA
Steve Hocking, CEO
Through our long-standing partnership, we’re able to work closely with the Foundation to help educate and raise awareness of gambling harm in the community.’
Jeremy Cameron, Player and LTG ambassador
‘I’m proud to again be an ambassador for Love the Game, to help young fans celebrate the game for what it is, not for the odds.’
NORTH MELBOURNE FC
Ben Amarfio, CEO
‘A key aspect of what our club stands for is our strong community orientation. We can’t hold that position and not stand against problem gambling; the links to social and family harm are undeniable.
‘We are thrilled to be extending our partnership with the Foundation, taking our relationship to eight years.’
Aidan Corr, Player and LTG ambassador
‘I’m proud to be a part of a club that partners with such a great organisation.
‘I’m looking forward to continuing to spread the Foundation’s message, as we work towards reducing the normalisation of sports betting.’
WESTERN BULLDOGS FC
Ameet Bains, CEO
‘We understand the importance of a collegiate approach to tackling this issue, and all Victorian clubs working together will only strengthen our message.
‘We recognise gambling harm can be a serious problem in our community, and how the prevalence of sports betting advertising plays a role in the normalisation of the pursuit, especially in young males. Our role is to champion the love of our great game in an organic sense, without the need to add the element of sports betting.’
Luke Beveridge, Coach
‘We’re proud to be a Club like the Western Bulldogs, which chooses to destigmatise the normalisation of sports betting.
‘We’ve seen first-hand the negative impact excessive sports betting can have on individuals, and we understand the flow-on effects that can have on our players’ performance. We want to celebrate the game for what it is, not for the odds.’
Gary Pert, CEO
‘Melbourne Football Club is proud to stand alongside all Victorian AFL Clubs in educating parents and young fans on the risks associated with sports betting. We stand in unity to help increase awareness of gambling harm and counter the normalisation of sports gambling.’
Ben Brown, Player and LTG ambassador
‘I am proud to be a part of a club that understands the impact gambling can have not only on individuals, but on whole communities. As an ambassador for Love the Game, I hope to play a part in educating our young fans to love the game for what it is, not the odds.’
Mark Anderson, CEO
‘The Foundation is a major partner that encompasses all our codes across the club. Collingwood has been a proud partner of the Foundation for over eight years as we believe we have a role to play in reducing sports betting promotion and the harm gambling has in the community.
‘It's important to remember the true reasons we love this great game.’
Scott Pendlebury, Captain
‘It’s important that young fans learn to love our game for what it is and not for the odds of sports betting.
‘Whether it’s watching your team run through the banner each week or witnessing your favourite player play in a milestone match, draw on the aspects of the game that bring you joy instead of the highs and the lows that come with betting.’
ST KILDA FC
Matt Finnis, CEO
‘We’re proud to be part of such a strong contingent of Victorian sporting clubs supporting this cause.
‘We’ve valued the opportunity to partner with the Foundation for several years now to help educate the public on the harms associated with problem gambling, in particular, the proliferation of sport wagering.’
Justin Reeves, CEO
‘Hawthorn is proud to stand alongside all Victorian AFL clubs and partner with the Foundation as we work to reduce the harm caused by gambling and commit to making greater changes for our community.’
Sam Mitchell, Senior coach
'As an elite sporting club, it is important we use our platform to ensure young fans enjoy and celebrate our game for what it is, not for the odds.’
Brendon Gale, CEO
‘We are pleased to be able to play our part in helping to reduce the impact of sports betting in the community, particularly for young people.
‘Fans are the lifeblood of our game and we want each and every one of our members and supporters to be able to enjoy everything that is associated with our AFL and AFLW games harmlessly. We look forward to working together with the other nine Victorian clubs on this matter.’
Shane Edwards, Player and LTG ambassador
‘I am happy to be involved in the Club’s partnership with the Foundation, in particular its efforts to protect young fans.
‘We want the game itself and its exciting nature to continue to attract new generations of fans without the extra risk associated with sports gambling.’
Xavier Campbell, CEO
‘To have all 10 Victorian AFL clubs working together to reduce the impact of sports betting promotion will have long-term benefits on the game and our supporters.
‘It is important that as a collective we all commit to reducing potential sports betting harm in the community, particularly when involving a younger generation of supporters.’
Andrew McGrath, Player and LTG ambassador
‘I am proud to be a part of a club that is committed to reducing the normalisation of sports betting within the wider community.
‘I hope that supporters can celebrate the game for what it is, not just for the odds, and that fans can understand the impact that their betting-related responses can have on a player and their performance.’
Harry McKay, Player and LTG ambassador
‘I’m proud of our footy club and what it is doing to help combat the normalisation of sports betting.’
‘It impacts people at all levels of the game, from players who receive abuse online as a fallout from gambling to young supporters who are inundated with odds. Love the game, not the odds is so true and a statement we are proud to stand behind.’
Ben Kavenagh, Head of AFL
‘We want to ensure that we are looking after the wellbeing of our clubs, leagues, and the wider AFL Victoria community. This partnership is key to this, by addressing the normalisation of sports betting culture and reducing sports betting promotion.’