Sports betting ads were off the agenda for Sunday’s NRL match between the Bulldogs and Rabbitohs as both teams canceled betting sponsorships.
The two teams recently partnered with GambleAware’s Reclaim the Game initiative, which sees sports clubs reject sports betting advertising and challenge the normalization of sports betting, while educating staff, players and fans about the risks associated with gambling.
Natalie Wright, director of the Office of Responsible Gambling, said it’s fantastic for fans to walk into the stadium and witness the game where both teams have said no to sponsorship and the publicity that accompanies it.
“Betting companies are increasingly using sports to promote their product. Reclaim the Game challenges this and raises awareness of the risks of gambling.
“The NRL fanbase is huge and gambling advertising is everywhere, including in sports games and on television, which means as a supporter you can’t usually avoid seeing it,” Ms Wright said.
“On Sunday, fans and families focused on the game again – without letting a bet deter them from the game.
“It’s heartening to see an NRL match with two teams both standing up to say no to sports betting advertising and we’re sure the Bulldogs and Rabbitohs fans appreciated the atmosphere.”
Blake Solly, Rabbitohs CEO said: “Our community is such a big part of our club that we felt Reclaim the Game was a campaign we could support to help reduce the community’s exposure to sports betting advertising.
“We believe we play a style of football that entertains everyone in the family and that there is no need to bet on the game to enjoy it,” said Mr Solly.
“We are proud to support Reclaim the Game and their desire to create a culture change in sports betting advertising.”
Bulldogs CEO Aaron Warburton said rugby league is one of the most entertaining sporting experiences there is.
“It’s a great spectacle for fans, players and staff to enjoy sport in its purest form, with no distractions or the temptation to play,” said Mr Warburton.
“It was gratifying to see that Sunday’s clash between two of the proudest clubs in the game took place without the presence of sports betting advertising.”
While the NRL has code-level betting sponsorships, as do several NRL teams and some stadiums, the Rabbitohs and Bulldogs have committed to eliminating betting advertising wherever they can.