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Rabbitohs and Bulldogs Pledge Three More Years to Tackle Sports Betting Advertising

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Fans of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and the NRL will enjoy more games with less sports betting advertising thanks to extended partnerships with the New South Wales government’s Reclaim the Game initiative that will see commitments from both clubs continue for another three years.

Both extensions come after two successful years partnering with Reclaim the Game, with meaningful contributions made to changing attitudes towards sports betting across their respective communities.

The 2023 Reclaim the Game survey shows that Rabbitohs and Bulldogs supporters are now much more aware of where to seek support for issues with gambling.

Since forming the partnerships, members and fans have shown a marked increase in awareness of GambleAware services, with around one in three Rabbitohs and Bulldogs supporters now aware of the dedicated website and helpline.

To continue their stance against betting advertising, both clubs agree to not display betting ads at their home games, to promote Reclaim the Game through their communication channels and continue to educate players, staff and fans about gambling risks.

The Rabbitohs and Bulldogs go head-to-head this Friday, March 29, at Accor Stadium Homebush.

Since launching in 2020, the New South Wales government’s Reclaim the Game program has been a huge success, now boasting eleven partners across five codes including AFL, A-League, cricket, NBL and NRL. Through the support, the initiative has reached millions through more than 260 games, both on television and in stadiums. For more information visit: www. Gambleaware. nsw. gov. au/resources-and-education/awareness-campaigns/reclaim-the-game. If you or someone you care about needs support or advice, please call GambleAware on 1800 858 858 for free and confidential help and support 24/7.

“NRL games draw huge crowds and receive extensive media coverage,” the Director of the Office of Responsible Gambling, Alison Parkinson, said. “The NRL is highly intertwined with betting advertising and sponsorships, increasing the risk of gambling harm among fans. The Rabbitohs and Bulldogs have been pioneers against the saturation of betting ads in the NRL, helping to make their game days a family-friendly experience.

“Family traditions often shape support for a club and attitudes towards gambling can also be passed down through generations. We are pleased to see the Rabbitohs’ and the Bulldogs’ commitment to addressing this issue, highlighting the potential harms that gambling can cause individuals, families and society.”

“We are thrilled to extend our partnership with Reclaim the Game,” the Chief Executive Officer for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Blake Solly, said. “Its commitment to being part of a positive social movement aligns with the values of our club and we are excited to continue working together to challenge the notion that gambling is a normal part of sport.”

“In 2022, we joined forces with Reclaim the Game to say no to sports betting advertising,” the Chief Executive Officer for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Aaron Warburton, said. “It was a first of its kind partnership for our club and one we are extremely proud of, challenging the notion that betting is a normal part of the game.

“Rugby league is one of the most entertaining sporting experiences on offer and we firmly believe that our members and fans should be able to watch and enjoy this great game without constant advertising from sports betting companies. The contests, rivalries, skills and personalities within our game are what make it so attractive to millions of viewers and we couldn’t put it better than to say, don’t let a bet take you away from the game.”

Australia

SkyCity Appoints Jason Walbridge as Chief Executive Officer

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SkyCity Entertainment Group Limited has appointed Jason Walbridge as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Jason has more than two decades of senior executive public company experience in the global land-based and online gaming industries. He is currently a Strategic Advisor to global gaming and technology company Aristocrat Leisure Limited on its proposed acquisition of NeoGames S.A, and Executive Chairman of National Entertainment Network LLC, the largest amusement route operator in the US. He has been appointed to the role after an extensive international search.

SkyCity Board Chair Julian Cook said: “The Board is delighted to announce Jason’s appointment as CEO of SkyCity, and we are looking forward to the valuable contribution Jason will make to the business. Jason has extensive global experience in the land-based and online gaming industries, which will position him well to lead SkyCity through its next phases.”

Mr Walbridge said: “It will be a privilege to lead SkyCity, and I am excited to be joining the business at this time as SkyCity looks to pursue the many opportunities ahead of it.”

Mr Walbridge is expected to start in early July 2024, following his move back to New Zealand.

Prior to his current roles, Mr Walbridge held roles with the online gaming supplier NYX Gaming Group Limited and its acquirer Light & Wonder Inc, and before that he spent 18 years with Aristocrat Leisure Limited where he held executive leadership roles in New Zealand and the US. Previously, he held senior roles within consulting, including with Ernst & Young, and was an Officer in the New Zealand Defence Force. Mr Walbridge holds an MBA in International Management from the Auckland Institute of Studies.

Mr Cook confirmed that Callum Mallett will continue as Interim Chief Executive Officer until Mr Walbridge’s commencement date.

“I’d like to thank Callum for his continued leadership and his support during this period,” Mr Cook said.

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Australia

VGCCC Fines BlueBet AU$50,000 for Gambling Advertising Breaches

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BlueBet has been fined AU$50,000 by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) for breaching gambling advertising regulations.

The company was found guilty of 43 charges related to displaying gambling advertisements on or above public roads, contravening the Gambling Regulation Act 2003.

The charges stemmed from an investigation initiated by VGCCC, following a complaint from a member of the public. The breaches occurred over a two-week period in August and September 2022, with BlueBet’s gambling advertisements appearing on digital billboards at various locations, including Point Cook, Laverton, Rockbank and Ravenhall.

Magistrate Greg Thomas, overseeing the case, expressed scepticism about BlueBet’s defence that it was unaware of the breaches, given the strategic placement of the billboards to target males aged 15-54 years old. While no conviction was recorded, Magistrate Thomas noted the high degree of negligence exhibited by BlueBet.

VGCCC CEO Annette Kimmitt AM said: “Gambling advertising has no place on public roads where it is readily visible to children and other vulnerable groups. These places are especially difficult to avoid as part of day-to-day activities. This decision sends a clear message to wagering providers that flout these protections for our community.”

Although Magistrate Thomas considered imposing a higher fine and recording a conviction, he took into account BlueBet’s guilty plea, cooperation with VGCCC and measures taken to prevent future breaches. BlueBet has implemented changes to prevent similar incidents and has cooperated with VGCCC throughout the process.

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Australia

VGCCC Introduces New Rules for Wagering Account Statements

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The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has introduced new standards for how activity statements should be presented to wagering account holders. The new standards require providers to use plain English and avoid unnecessary vocabulary. The use of colours is limited to black and red to represent losses.

The VGCCC took the measure after finding inconsistencies in the way information was displayed on sample activity statements across different providers. Account holders must be able to see how much of their own money they have lost, with free and bonus bets excluded from the net loss figures. Net wins must be shown with stakes deducted. The gambling harm taglines that appear at the end of wagering ads must be displayed on each statement.

The new standards came into force on April 1. Failure to comply could result in a penalty of 60 penalty units, equivalent to AU$11,538.60 for each non-compliant activity statement issued.

VGCCC CEO Annette Kimmitt AM said: “The days of inconsistent player activity statements are over. Wagering account holders will be better informed about their spending – and therefore better equipped to make informed decisions about their gambling – thanks to the clarity and fairness these changes bring.”

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