South Australia Gov. Issues Response to Prevalence of Sports Gambling

The government of South Australia has teamed up with A-League soccer club Adelaide United to set role models for promoting sports without basing the experience on sports betting. The new initiative will be based on a multi-year alliance that will seek to establish good practices in sports that go beyond betting on athletic contests.

The government will commit a total of $230,000 (AU$328,000) to launch an initiative by the name of “Here For The Game,” which will roll out across several media, including television, radio, and social media, in a bid to draw attention from gambling. 

A Pull Away from Betting within Sports 

A number of catchphrases have been coined to remind audiences to think about sports in terms of what they see and not the opportunity to place a wager. The campaign is bringing both Adelaide United captain Stefan Mauk and forward Mohammed Toure as its ambassadors and drawing audiences’ attention back to the game.

The team will also seek help from W-League and Adelaide City’s Chelsie Dawber to promote the same message. This is another step-up for Adelaide United, which reported earlier this month that it is renouncing sports gambling partnerships, hoping that it would set an example for sports in the country.

This is a delicate issue as betting operators are often the biggest sponsors of sports teams, with traditional companies usually not as keen to advertise on player jerseys or shirts. Calls for a complete ban of such partnerships have been vocal in numerous jurisdictions around the world, including Australia.

Commenting on the campaign, Adelaide United CEO Nathan Kosmina said that the team wanted to make sure that fans were there to enjoy the game and benefit from the positive involvement football could have in their lives. 

“We know that the attitudes of young people towards gambling are heavily influenced by the sporting brands they engage with. Our obligation in this regard is to foster a love of the game first and foremost and to highlight the negative impact sports gambling can have.”

Adelaide United CEO Nathan Kosmina

Government Keeps Tabs on What’s Best

South Australia’s minister for human services, Michelle Lensink, confirmed that the government is aware of the growth of sports gambling over the last years, which has prompted it to act preemptively and try to minimize any negative impact on young people. Australia has one of the largest rates of gambling per capita, with children often exposed to sports gambling commercials.

Lensink believes that the partnership with Adelaide United will allow the government to work on tailored solutions focused fully on the state and help protect vulnerable groups. The government campaign will focus on reaching men, as they are more at-risk to engage with gambling and do so in excess.

A Look at the Raw Numbers

As momentum for taking gambling out of the limelight in sports continues to build up, the South Australian government has also announced the results of a recent study that asked residents to share their thoughts on the current prevalence of sports gambling ads.

According to close to 80% of respondents, sports gambling ads constitute a threat to the well-being of children. Meanwhile, 75% of teenagers aged 16 were able to name at least one betting agency. Some 32% of respondents confirmed that they engage with sports betting at a rate that is considered at-risk. 

Lensink is adamant that the latest initiative is a strong response to the findings of the survey, which suggests that the government must step in and act. 

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