Gambling advertisements have been banned from stadiums hosting Big Bash League matches, as New South Wales attempts to address the normalisation of sports betting and raise awareness of gambling harms.
This week the NSW Office of Responsible Gambling announced a two-year partnership with Cricket NSW that will stop betting firms promoting their services at any cricket ground.
There is already a broadcast arrangement on free-to-air TV which bans wagering advertising and promotion during and within 30 minutes of matches, but the new deal is the first to address in-ground betting promotion.
The “GambleAware” partnership aims to promote a more family-friendly experience at matches involving NSW BBL and WBBL teams – Sydney Thunder and Sixers – and the NSW Blues and Breakers.
“We recognise the impact that constant sports betting advertising can have on young people and their families – particularly young men,” Cricket NSW chief executive Lee Germon said.
“The idea that kids are led to believe gambling is a normal part of sport is a real concern, so this is a step in the right direction that we’re proud to be taking.”
Sports organisations are regularly criticised for taking money from gambling companies.
Last year Cricket Australia rejected a sponsorship offer from an unnamed gambling company because, according to the organisation’s then-chief executive Kevin Roberts, the BBL was “fun, family entertainment”.
But CA still lists global betting giant Bet365 as one of its major corporate partners.
John Dalzell, chair of the Responsible Gambling Fund, said the initiative would provide a safer environment in which families could enjoy cricket.
“Young people are under immense pressure to fit in and are more likely to take up gambling if they consider it to be a normal part of sport and they assume that everyone’s doing it,” Dalzell said.
“Having matches free of gambling advertising means families can reclaim the game and go back to enjoying sport without the concern that children are being constantly exposed to sports betting promotions.
“It will remove the assumption that gambling is a normal part of cricket and it will refocus attention back on the game and the players – the way it should be.”