When it comes to sports, teams and celebrities can be the best tools for spreading and increasing awareness about the risks that gambling in sports comes with and to deliver messaging on the need to play responsibly. One team that has been promoting the need for responsible gambling is Australian football club Western Sydney Wanderers.
This Australian football club recently reaffirmed its decision to spread awareness about responsible gambling by extending its partnership with GambleAware – an organization known for its work in this area – for another season. In a statement the company said it will work with GambleAware’s Office of Responsible Gambling right through the 2022-23 Season.
Spreading Awareness about Responsible Gambling the Western Sydney Wanderers’ Way
Western Sydney Wanderers have been working to spread awareness and provide people with information about responsible gaming and the need to engage in it. This is not the first time it has taken a stance in favour of gambling responsibly; earlier this year it had said it would drop any existing gambling partnerships it had other players in the market.
As the next logical step forward in this direction the team has, in principle, agreed to continue to be part of the Reclaim the Game program that GambleAware runs. Under the terms of this program, the Western Sydney Wanderers will refrain from accepting any form of sponsorships or advertising related to sports-betting.
The objective of the program is simple: to create an environment that is family-friendly when they play at home. This is an important step because it would allow fans to just soak in the game without being bombarded with anything sportsbetting related.
And it is very much needed. Having Australian online gambling companies offering free money to gamblers via no deposit bonuses makes it very hard to resist signing up and depositing. The industry has been making huge strides in protecting its players from problem gambling in recent years. But of course there is always more to do.
What the Wanderers-GambleAware Partnership Offers
The way forward for the Wanderers, as part of the Reclaim the Game initiative, is to work together with GambleAware on a fresh campaign aimed at addressing the issue of normalizing sports betting and gambling-related advertising in sport. The message is clear: you need to ‘focus on the game rather than the gambling.’
The first step was to kick off the second leg of the Wanderers’ association with GambleAware with 3 video spots that it shot in collaboration with Chisel, a creative agency, highlighting the various aspects of the issue, on 15thNovember, 2021.
The 3 video spots were published on the YouTube Channel of GambleAware NSW. These are effectively 3 short videos that feature women players from the Ute A-League powered by Isuzu and the women’s teams in the A-League; through the film they encourage you to focus on the game alone, andmove away from the gambling.
This is a very important step forward for the club, in more ways than one. Speaking about how important this initiative was to the Club, CEO of the Western Sydney Wanderers John Tsatsimas said, “It is very important to us to continue to build on our relationship with GambleAware as this is an issue that affects a lot of our Western Sydney community.
“Together with GambleAware and their campaign to ‘Reclaim the Game’, we hope to educate and create greater awareness of the impact that sports betting can have in professional sport,” he further added.
Speaking about the collaborative effort between GambleAware and the team, Natalie Wright, the director of responsible gambling at GambleAware said, “We are thrilled to be working with them for another season, to continue to educate their members, fans, players, staff, and community about the importance of Reclaim the Game and highlighting the risks of gambling.”
The Western Sydney Wanderers were the first to take up this initiative with GambleAware, and they seem to have thrown down the baton for other teams to pick up and run along.
Other Teams on the Reclaim the Game Program
The Reclaim the Game program run by GambleAware has been a huge success, with a number of teams coming on board to be part of it this year.
This year, two more football teams – The Sydney Swans and Macarthur FC – both indicated they would be severing links they have had with existing betting operators. This is to be done as an agreement with the office that Responsible Gambling has in New South Wales.
These are not the only teams, though; for the first time, Australian basketball teams have jumped into the fray as well. 2 teams – Sydney Kings and Sydney Uni Flames – stepped up to spread awareness about the issue in basketball by rejecting all forms of sports betting sponsors and advertisements.
Paul Smith, the Chairman and owner of these 2 teams, said, “Our own players have been victim to abuse on social media because betting got out of hand. By working with GambleAware, we are encouraging our fans and the community to stay within their means and to not let betting take away from what sport should be about…It speaks to our commitment to social and community responsibility.”
Teams from other sports are partnering with GambleAware as well through this program. Two teams from Australia’s cricket world – the Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder – too have joined the program.
The Reason behind the Success of Reclaim the Game – Statistics Tell the Tale
One look at the numbers in recent times and you know Reclaim the Game was bound to be a success. Recent research by Australia’s Office of Responsible Gambling painted a stark picture – a whopping 77% of the people surveyed said there is just a deluge of gambling advertising today.
In fact, 4 out of 5 people believed that the risk of developing a gambling problem spikes up unnaturally when gambling advertising is involved. Natalie Wright, the Office of Responsible Gambling’s director, in fact says online betting and sport are completely hand in hand nowadays.