Victorian AFL teams take stand against sports betting sponsorship

An increasing number of Victorian Australian Football League clubs are now formally refusing to take sponsorships from sports betting agencies, according to local media.

Richmond has become the seventh Victorian club to sign a responsible gambling charter and agreed to not have any commercial arrangements with sports betting companies. This leaves Carlton, Melbourne and Geelong as the only clubs agreeable to having sports betting sponsors.

According to local media, Brendon Gale, the Richmond club’s chief executive, was reportedly troubled by the “pervasive nature” of sports betting which was having a profound impact on children attending games.

On the topic of sponsorship revenue, Gale admitted the decision to not sign sponsorships with sports betting companies would come at a cost to the club but “we felt in the circumstances it is a small price to pay.”

Victorian gaming minister Jane Garrett said the impact of decisions such as those from Richmond were significant for the industry. “These steps taken by powerhouse clubs like Richmond are important in dealing with the normalisation of betting amongst particularly our kids,” said the gaming minister. “We do have to take responsibility for our kids and the normalisation of betting. This is one of those important steps to do that,” she added.

However, Garrett denied sports betting money was the “new tobacco” in sports sponsorship.

“The difference between tobacco and gambling is quite significant in that every cigarette is doing you damage and there is no benefit to smoking… There are plenty of people who enjoy gambling. It’s part of our life in Australia … most people do it without developing a problem so there is a difference between tobacco and gambling.”