In a first of its kind, the Bulldogs have rejected sports betting advertising and joined Reclaim the Game, a NSW Government initiative that challenges the idea that betting is a normal part of sport.
The Bulldogs will join the South Sydney Rabbitohs and teams from four other codes in turning down sports betting sponsorships. Nine teams across cricket, the A-League, AFL and NBL are already making gambling awareness and education part of their game.
Director of the Office of Responsible Gambling, Natalie Wright, said more than any other sport, the NRL is saturated with sports betting advertising and cultural change is vital to prevent and reduce gambling harm in the community.
“Online sports betting is the fastest growing form of gambling and the NRL is the most popular sport to bet on in NSW,” Ms Wright said.
“The NRL fan-base is huge and gambling advertising is everywhere which means if you’re a supporter exposure it’s virtually inescapable.”
Warburton excited for Reclaim the Game partnership
In 2019 the NRL had a TV audience of 101.9 million people and research shows that every week, almost half of 12–17-year-olds saw gambling advertising on television during sports and racing and a third could recall the different gambling options.
Young men are most at risk of gambling harm and an estimated 41 per cent of regular sports bettors experience one or more gambling-related problems.
“Sports betting companies know that visibility works, which is why they invest so much in advertising on the most popular code in NSW.
“We are so pleased to see the Bulldogs and Rabbitohs reclaim the game in the advertising spaces they control. They are leading the way in the NRL by calling time on sports betting sponsorships. We hope that other clubs and the NRL itself will follow suit, so that fans can get back to what sport is all about.”
Bulldogs Chief Executive, Aaron Warburton, was pleased to support the initiative: “The contest, the rivalries, the skill, and the personalities within our game drive millions of viewers across country to tune in. Rugby League is one of the most entertaining sporting experiences on offer.
At Bulldogs home matches, we are extremely proud to be reclaiming the game for our Members and Fans. We believe that you should be able to watch and enjoy our great game with your friends and families without the contestant advertising from sports betting companies.”