Business News

Six Australian Football League clubs based in the state of Victoria have signed up to a charter that aims to shield minors from exposure to gambling ads and brands as part of their commitment to responsible gaming.

The signatories include some of Australia’s highest-profile teams, including current AFL champions Hawthorn Football Club, who have renewed their commitment to the charter alongside Collingwood FC and North Melbourne. They are joined by new sign-ups Western Bulldogs, St Kilda and Essendon, as well as A-League association football team Melbourne Victory.

The team’s actions have been praised by Victorian Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation Jane Garrett, who reiterated her government’s commitment to reducing gambling-related harm.

“This charter will help to reduce the exposure of young people to gambling through sports and better educate fans, players and members about the risks of gambling,” she said.

The Ministry for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation explained that during the AFL season an average of 300,000 fans watch games each weekend, with the teams followed by more than 1m people on social media.

This offers huge exposure to sports betting companies, which have spent $149m on advertising in 2015 to date, up by $44.5m, with digital channels seeing the biggest increase in investment.

“Knowing your limits and remaining within them is an important message we try to drive home to our fans, our players and our staff,” Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert said.

The charter has been signed to coincide with the state’s Responsible Gambling Awareness Week, run by the Victoria Responsible Gambling Foundation, which ends October 18th, with events being held throughout Victoria.

“The charter is the centrepiece of our Gambling’s not a Game program, which encourages sporting clubs to educate members, officials and fans about the risks of gambling and to promote responsible gambling,” the foundation’s chief executive Serge Sardo explained.

“This is not an anti-gambling message. It’s a commitment to minimising the exposure of gambling advertising and gambling culture on young people.”

Under the terms of the charter the clubs will strive to keep gambling away from their social and fundraising activities with young people, and will not provide gambling inducements as awards and prizes, as well as promoting responsible gambling to those under the age of 18.

They will also avoid sponsorship deals with sport betting agencies that could lead to them promoting gambling to minors, and must ensure they make the Gambler’s Help venue support programme and related services available to players should they own or operate poker machines.