AFL Clubs Sign Responsible Gambling Pledge

Clubs Nix Australian Betting Sponsorship

Gambling pledge aims to keep young people away from gambling brands.

A number of top AFL Clubs have signed a charter in Australia which aims to protect vulnerable people from gambling.

The responsible gambling charter, which originated in the state of Victoria, also has signatories pledge that they will not enter into sponsorship deals with betting agencies.

To date, six Australian Football League Clubs have signed the charter, including Collingwood FC, North Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, St. Kilda and Essendon. One of the country's highest-profile AFL teams, the current champions Hawthorn Football Club also signed the charter.

The objective of the charter is to shield minors from gambling ads and brands. It was signed to coincide with Victoria's Responsible Gambling Week which will run until the weekend.

"The charter is the centre piece 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," noted Serge Sardo, the chief executive of the Victoria Responsible Gambling Foundation.

"This is not an anti-gambling message. It's a commitment to minimizing the exposure of gambling advertising and gambling culture on young people."

Sponsorship but Not Pokies

While the six clubs have signed up to keep young people protected from gambling brands, only one of them doesn't make money from poker machine revenues.

Five of the clubs - excluding North Melbourne - own poker machines which are regularly played.

The signed charter encourages clubs to keep gambling away from their social and fundraising activities with youngsters. The clubs also pledged to avoid providing gambling inducements as rewards or prizes.

The clubs who own pokies also pledged to make support programs such as Gambler's Help available to players.

Reduce Exposure of Gambling to Children

The government has expressed concern that the young people are too exposed to gambling brands, especially during top sporting events such as the AFL season, where an average of 300,000 people watch games every weekend.

"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," said Jane Garret, the Victorian Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation.