In a first for the National Rugby League, two clubs – Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and the South Sydney Rabbitohs have rejected sports betting advertising and joined Reclaim the Game, an NSW Government initiative to challenge the idea that betting are an integral part of sport.
Online sports betting is the fastest growing form of gambling and NRL is the most popular sport to bet on in New South Wales.
The two top clubs join teams from four other codes to decline sports betting sponsorships. Nine cricket teams, the A-League, AFL and NBL are already integrating awareness and game education into their game.
South Sydney Rabbitohs chief executive Blake Solly notes that “our community plays such an important role in our club, and we felt this is a campaign we can support to reduce the exposure of the sports betting advertising community.
“Research shows there are long-term effects on families when sports betting harms community play and we believe the Reclaim the Game message is positive for the fans and families who support our club and our sport.
“We hope we play a style of football that can entertain all members of the family without feeling like they have to bet the game to enjoy it.
“Reclaim the Game is about that message, and we’re happy to support them and their desire to effect a cultural shift around sports betting advertising.”
Bulldogs general manager Aaron Warburton said he was delighted to support the initiative and added that “our game’s competition, rivalries, skills and personalities inspire millions of viewers across the country to tune in Rugby League is one of the most entertaining sports experiences on offer.
“At Bulldogs home games, we take tremendous pride in reclaiming the game for our members and fans. We believe you should be able to watch and enjoy our great game with your friends and family without the constant advertising of sports betting companies.
Responsible Gambling Office Director Natalie Wright said more than any other sport, the NRL is saturated with sports betting publicity and that cultural change is key to preventing and reducing gambling harm in the community.
Wright points out “The NRL fanbase is huge and gambling advertising is everywhere which means if you’re a fan you can’t avoid seeing it.”
Young men are most at risk of gambling and an estimated 41% of regular sports bettors experience one or more gambling-related problems.
“Sports betting companies know visibility works, which is why they invest so much in advertising on NSW’s most popular code,” added Wright.
“We are delighted to see the Bulldogs and Rabbitohs reclaiming the game in the advertising spaces they control. They are leading the way in the NRL by calling time on sports betting sponsorships. We hope other clubs and the NRL itself will follow, so fans can get back to what the sport is all about.
Image (left to right) Aaron Warburton, CEO Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Natalie Wright, Director of Responsible Gambling Office, Blake Solly, CEO South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Feb 21, 2022 – Survey finds AFL fans concerned about gambling advertising
November 30, 2021 – South Australian Government and Adelaide United Football Club team up to tackle sports betting
Aug 30, 2021 – Australian sports bookmaker fined $60,000 for illegal gambling adverts
March 31, 2021 – Macarthur FC and Sydney Swans reject gambling sponsorships
Feb 10, 2021 – Western Sydney Wanderers A-League partnership sees rejection from game sponsors
December 3, 2019 – Cricket Australia declines Big Bash League playing sponsor
November 4, 2019 – Gaming revenue set to drop for Melbourne Cup 2019
April 29, 2016 – Australian government tightens online betting regulations
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