The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation has welcomed Western United as the second elite soccer club to join the Love the Game program, alongside rival team Melbourne Victory and more than 600 other Victorian sporting partners united against sports betting sponsorship.
‘By joining Love the Game, Western United is signalling to fans and the broader community that gambling is not a normal part of sport despite all the promotions that would have us think otherwise,’ Foundation CEO Shane Lucas said today.
‘With one in three sports bets in Victoria placed by men aged 18–24 years, and participation by young women increasing, we need to act now to ensure that young people learn to think critically about gambling before they’re old enough to bet.’
Western United CEO Chris Pehlivanis said the club would use its community engagement program to raise awareness that sport and betting don’t have to go together.
‘Western United’s main goals are, and always will be, to support our people and to make a positive contribution to local communities,’ he said.
‘The Love the Game partnership, which prioritises the wellbeing of our young people, is consistent with these goals.
‘We want to encourage the football community, including spectators, to love the game and not get caught up in the gambling industry’s promotion of the betting odds.’
Anyone negatively affected by their own or someone else’s gambling can access confidential free advice, support and referral 24/7 on 1800 858 858.