AFL club supports responsible gambling by halting ground ads
Australian football club Geelong has thrown its support behind the Love the Game program initiated by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.
Gambling Insider reports the club took a stand against sports betting during its match against the Western Bulldogs, where no gambling advertisements were on display at GMHBA Stadium.
Geelong said it was proud to be one of more than 500 sporting clubs across Victoria to say no to sports betting, adding that all ten AFL clubs in the state are “united in our commitment to protect kids from the promotion of gambling in sport.”
The club continued by explaining that almost one third of sports betting in the state is carried out by men aged 18-24, which “shouldn’t come as a surprise, given kids this century are routinely being exposed to excessive levels of sports betting advertising while watching their heroes during live broadcast matches.”
Geelong said a 2020 survey found that 88 per cent of Victorian sports fans agreed that young people are exposed to too much sports betting advertising, with A$232 million spent on ads in the country in 2019, compared to $89.7 million in 2011.
Geelong chief commercial officer Braith Cox commented: “It’s extremely important for our club to be gambling and gaming free and we are proud that our stadium doesn’t display any sports gambling advertising.
“As a partner of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundations’ Love the Game program, Geelong says no to sports betting sponsorship to help limit the gambling promotions seen by our fans.
“We want to encourage young people to love the game, not the odds.”
Cats ended pokies association months ago
The football club ended its long association with pokies venues last November by selling its Point Cook gaming venue.
The sale of The Brook Point Cook to the Melbourne Racing Club was settled in early 2020 for a seven-figure sum, but settlement was delayed because the venue had to shut its doors during the coronavirus pandemic.
The club pocketed $4 million per year from gambling and had 180 pokies across two venues.
The sale means it is no longer making money from poker machines.
Cats chief Brian Cox said the sale of the venue was a proud day for the club and for Responsible Gambling reforms.
“If you look at our mission, it’s quite obvious gaming doesn’t fit, and if you look at our values, it doesn’t fit in there either.
“We have a value of being commercial and considered. You need to consider the effect of gaming on all people, not only those who enjoy it and find it as a pastime but also those who get into it in an unhealthy way.
“That, in the end, was the crunch for us; we didn’t necessarily want to be involved in an activity that had detrimental outcomes to a number of people in the community.”
The Brook has a licence for 80 gaming machines.
Geelong previously operated a further 100 at Kardinia Park, but switched them off during a stadium upgrade six years ago and sold most of the licences to other operators.
Cook said the club would turn its attention and the money made by selling The Brook to other pursuits.
“We decided we’d go into, in the first instance, businesses that are around health and wellbeing,” he said.
In January, the Cats announced they had purchased Geelong’s Gym in Newtown.
Cook said an upgrade to that business was in the pipeline and similar ventures were being investigated.