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In a first for the NRL, the Bulldogs and Rabbitohs have rejected sports betting advertising and joined Reclaim the Game, a NSW Government initiative to challenge the idea that betting is a normal part of sport.
The two high profile clubs join teams from four other codes in turning down sports betting sponsorships. Nine teams across cricket, the A-League, AFL and NBL are already making gambling awareness and education part of their game.
“Our community plays such a big role in our Club, and we felt that this is a campaign we can support to reduce community exposure to sports betting advertising,” Blake Solly, South Sydney Rabbitohs CEO, said.
“Research shows there are long term effects on families when sports betting causes gambling harm in the community and we feel the Reclaim the Game message is a positive for the fans and families that support our Club and our sport.
“We hope that we play a style of football that can entertain everyone in the family without feeling like they need to bet on the game to enjoy it.
“Reclaim the Game is all about that message, and we’re happy to support them and their desire to effect cultural change around sports gambling advertising.”
Bulldogs Chief Executive, Aaron Warburton, was pleased to support the initiative.
“The contest, the rivalries, the skill, and the personalities within our game drive millions of viewers across country to tune in. Rugby League is one of the most entertaining sporting experiences on offer.
“At Bulldogs home matches, we are extremely proud to be reclaiming the game for our members and fans. We believe that you should be able to watch and enjoy our great game with your friends and families without the constant advertising from sports betting companies.”
Director of the Office of Responsible Gambling, Natalie Wright, said more than any other sport, the NRL is saturated with sports betting advertising and cultural change is vital to prevent and reduce gambling harm in the community.
“Online sports betting is the fastest growing form of gambling and the NRL is the most popular sport to bet on in NSW,” Ms Wright said.
“The NRL fan-base is huge and gambling advertising is everywhere which means if you’re a supporter you can’t avoid seeing it.”
Young men are most at risk of gambling harm and an estimated 41 per cent of regular sports betting experience one or more gambling-related problems.
“Sports betting companies know that visibility works, which is why they invest so much in advertising on the most popular code in NSW,” Ms Wright said.
“We are so pleased to see the Bulldogs and Rabbitohs reclaim 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 that other clubs and the NRL itself will follow suit, so that fans can get back to what sport is all about.”