Geelong Cats player and Love the Game ambassador Jeremy Cameron will tonight speak about leadership and why he loves footy at an online forum for young footballers and netballers in the AFL Barwon region.
The forum will be preceded by a Sport and Life Training (SALT) session with SEDA College students that will explore the risks associated with sports betting and how young people can resist social pressures to gamble.
"Young men in the age range of 18–24 years now make up a third of sports bettors in Victoria, and participation by young women is rising," Cameron said. "I’m not much older than this group, so it’s concerning that they are betting in such large numbers.
"Kids should be able to enjoy the footy without thinking about the odds or being persuaded by all the gambling ads, that everyone who bets will win and have a great time. That’s not the reality."
The Geelong Cats and AFL Barwon-hosted events are being held in the lead-up to the Cats’ Love the Game match this Saturday at GMHBA Stadium.
Throughout May, clubs across all codes and levels in Victoria will participate in Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (VRGF) Love the Game rounds, during which coaches and parents will be encouraged to talk to kids about the risks of sports betting.
"Coaches will be asked to make a game plan to talk to their teams about sports betting and to urge parents to do the same during this year’s Love the Game month," VRGF CEO Shane Lucas said.
"The aim is to help young people understand the risks of gambling before they are legally able to bet so that they can make informed decisions when they reach adulthood."
Bruce Harwood, AFL Barwon General Manager, said that young people are being strategically targeted to engage in gambling through very aggressive advertising campaigns. But through Love the Game, clubs and leagues are taking a stand and educating in the dangers and consequences of gambling.
"Many of our league members are Love the Game partners, saying no to sports betting sponsorship and taking a proactive role in informing and equipping young people to think carefully about betting."
AFL Barwon and the Geelong Cats, along with the other nine Victorian AFL clubs, AFL Victoria and 650+ community clubs across the state are Love the Game partners. They all love the game, not the odds.