NRL clubs distance themselves from the gaming industry | NRL
NRL’s Canterbury and South Sydney have joined a cohort of sports clubs pledging to refuse money from betting companies, in a bid to distance themselves from the gambling industry.
Rugby league is the fifth code to sign up to the NSW Government’s Reclaim the Game scheme, which aims to help fans experience the sport without the influence of betting advertising and sponsorship .
Already nine clubs across the AFL, basketball, cricket and football have pledged to ‘challenge the idea that betting is an integral part of sport’, with the Sydney Swans, Sydney Kings, Sydney Sixers and Thunder and Western Sydney Wanderers and Macarthur FC among the signatories.
Now the Bulldogs and Rabbitohs have announced they will also ban betting promotions on floor signage and large screens and remove sponsorship from all club apparel.
Education is another key part of the initiative, with gamers adding their voice to fight the normalization of gambling in Australia – according to the NSW government, more than half of adults in the state gamble each year.
Overall, the Australian gambling market was estimated at over $225 billion in 2019, while online gambling has surged during the pandemic.
“Our community plays such an important role in our club, and we felt this is a campaign we can support to reduce the community’s exposure to sports betting advertising,” said the managing director of Rabbitohs, Blake Solly.
“Research shows there are long-term effects on families when sports betting causes harm to gaming in the community and we believe the Reclaim the Game message is positive for the fans and families who support our club. and our sport.”
Bulldogs general manager Aaron Warburton said fans should be able to watch a game “without the constant advertising of sports betting companies”.
Both clubs join the initiative independently of the NRL, which has a lucrative contract with Sportsbet and is saturated with betting advertising.
“Online sports betting is the fastest growing form of gambling and NRL is the most popular sport to bet on in NSW,” said Natalie Wright, Director of the NSW Government Responsible Gaming Office.
“The NRL’s fanbase is huge and gambling advertising is everywhere which means if you’re a fan you can’t avoid seeing it. Sports betting companies know that visibility works, which is why they invest so much in advertising NSW’s most popular code.