Australia Government Taps Local Soccer Team to Promote Sports without Sports Betting

Posted on: December 1, 2021, 08:57h. 

Last updated on: December 1, 2021, 11:46h.

The government of South Australia is hoping a partnership with a soccer team will help deter the interest in sports betting. Adelaide United Football Club has been tapped to appear in ad campaigns designed to highlight the positive aspects of sports while diminishing the role of sports betting.

Mohamed Toure
Mohamed Toure of Adelaide United, seen on the field above, is one of three new sports ambassadors representing the South Australian government’s sports awareness campaign. (Image: SBS)

The announcement follows the launch of the government’s “Here For The Game” initiative. The program was developed to keep sports betting from being the main focus of sporting events. The partnership will span three years, according to an announcement from the government

The government will spend AU$328,000 (US$233,128) for a series of advertisements across all media channels. The goal is to promote the idea that sports can be enjoyed without betting.

The ads will carry messages that include, among others, “Here for the memories, not for the early bet payouts,” and “Here for the fans, not odds-on favorites.”

South Australia Adds Sports Ambassadors

Three soccer stars will become ambassadors for the campaign. Adelaide United team’s captain, Stefan Mauk, as well as Mohamed Toure, will feature in the ads. From the club’s women’s team counterpart, Chelsie Dawber will also appear in several ads.

It’s no coincidence that Adelaide United was chosen for the partnership. The club recently decided to break off any partnerships it had with brands directly linked to the sports betting industry.

The government is hoping these high-profile stars will shift focus away from the rising popularity of sports betting, especially among potential underage gamblers.

“We want our supporters and community to focus on the positive involvement that football can have on their lives. We know that the attitudes of young people towards gambling are heavily influenced by the sporting brands they engage with,” Adelaide United chief executive Nathan Kosmina said.

Adelaide United Not Alone

As pressure continues to mount, other sports teams in Australia are backing away from sports betting partnerships, as well. The Sydney Kings and Sydney Uni Flames, two basketball teams in New South Wales (NSW), have decided to cut off sports betting sponsorships and partnerships, as well.

Like South Australia, NSW has its own anti-sports betting advertising campaign. “Reclaim the Game” is similar in scope and style to its “Here For The Game” counterpart.

The Kings are in the National Basketball League and the Sydney Uni Flames are in the Women’s National Basketball League. They are now the first two basketball teams in the country to step away from sports betting relationships.

They’re not the only sports teams, though. Cricket’s Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder, Australian Rules Football team the Sydney Swans, and A-League soccer clubs Western Sydney Wanderers and Macarthur FC are also involved.

Sports Betting Advertising Continues to Find Resistance

Sports betting has become hugely popular around the world, but not everyone is thrilled about its growth.

South Australia decided to intervene after it produced a study that showed that 78% of the local population was concerned about children being exposed to sports betting ads. Some 83% of those surveyed asserted that sports betting advertising made children believe that sports betting is normal, according to published results on the government’s official website.

“The research clearly shows we needed to tackle this issue from a young age and from the ground up, and that’s why using sports idols and fans to convey this message will be really powerful, and hopefully make people think twice before they place a bet,” South Australia’s Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said.

With campaigns like Australia’s, other sports betting operators are increasingly finding marketing and advertising more difficult. Italy, Spain, the UK, and other countries are putting strict controls in place on all forms of gambling advertising. Several have implemented strict whistle-to-whistle bans.