More AFL clubs ditch betting partnerships

More AFL clubs ditch betting partnerships

Monday, October 12, 2015 Totally Gaming
The AFL itself has a five-year partnership with BetEasy

Six major Australian Football League (AFL) clubs have signed up to a charter that means they will not agree deals with sports betting companies.

The Western Bulldogs, St Kilda and Essendon joined 2015 AFL champions Hawthorn, Collingwood and North Melbourne in signing the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation's (VRGF) charter today (Monday).

As part of the charter, they will not sign sponsorship deals with sports betting agencies, will not give gambling inducements as awards or prizes and will promote responsible gambling.

Essendon’s signature comes after its chief executive, Xavier Campbell, said in July that his club would no longer sign commercial partnerships with gambling agencies, despite the AFL itself receiving around Aus$10m (€6.46m/$7.36m) per year from official betting partner BetEasy.

“We certainly respect the right of betting agencies to advertise in sport,” Campbell said. “But as an industry we need to proactively monitor the way this message is delivered particularly given many of our fans are children.”

The six AFL clubs have joined A-League football team Melbourne Victory in signing up to the VRGF charter.

Serge Sado, VRGF chief executive, said: “These clubs decide to not partner with wagering companies and do a number of other activities so we're really, really proud.”

While the six have distanced themselves from betting, five of those clubs do still have deals with ‘pokies’ operators - North Melbourne being the exception – and took some Aus$88m through this revenue stream in 2014.

Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert said that he was concerned about the effect of the AFL’s links to gambling. 

He added: “I'm disappointed I'm embarrassed on behalf of the AFL the amount of exposure. I think it's totally inappropriate. There's got to be some balance and respect brought into the consideration of the impact of those messages.”

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