Edition #2: Gambling today

Blurred photo of a row of poker machines
Blurred photo of a row of poker machines
Photo: iStock

Industry buzz

Helping venues provide safer environments

When the foundation's Gambling's not a Game sporting clubs program came into being in 2013, it was in response to the increasing normalisation of gambling in sport, particularly through advertising.

As betting companies continue to target sports fans and use social media to further embed themselves in sporting culture, Gambling's not a Game is probably even more important today than at its inception.

You can read more about how the program is helping sporting clubs bring the focus back to enjoyment of the game in this edition of Inside gambling.

One aspect of the program, however, has taken wing and is making a big difference even beyond the world of sport.

Critical mass for venue best practice

When Gambling's not a Game started, participating sporting clubs signed a Responsible Gambling Charter to show their commitment to minimising the exposure of young people to gambling in the club environment. This charter remains a centrepiece of the program.

However, a number of sporting clubs wanting to join the program also gained income from gambling activities, including pokies venues. These clubs were eager for advice from the foundation about building on responsible gambling practices in their venues.

At the same time, other gaming venues involved with our venue support program were asking similar questions about best practice.

For the foundation, answering the call to produce a best practice guide was a no-brainer.

These clubs were eager for advice from the foundation about building on responsible gambling practices in their venues.

We recognised that influencing the environment in which gambling products are offered, and helping ensure they are provided in the most responsible way, could only be a positive step forward in reducing gambling-related harm.

A blueprint for a responsible gambling environment

Published in 2014, the Venue best practice guidecaptured best practice in place within Victorian gaming venues and gave examples to help venues meet and exceed their responsible gambling obligations. Developed in consultation with the gaming industry, the guide is an educational document that does not replace or add to any regulatory or compliance requirements.

Download the guide (PDF - 504.4 KB)

Adopting the recommendations in the guide gives venues the opportunity to further demonstrate to customers their commitment to creating a safer gambling environment.

Examples of best practice in the guide include:

  • making responsible gambling messages more noticeable to customers through using loudspeakers or electronic displays
  • regularly training staff and management through the foundation's venue support program to improve knowledge and confidence about responsible gambling
  • encouraging breaks by serving beverages or food only to customers not physically at the gaming machines.

The Venue best practice guide and the foundation's venue support program are available to all gaming venues in Victoria, regardless of whether they are involved with our sporting clubs program.

Adopting the recommendations in the guide gives venues the opportunity to further demonstrate to customers their commitment to creating a safer gambling environment.

The guide has been embraced by 17 venues throughout the state, and a number of new venues, including several owned and operated by the AFL clubs, will soon be implementing the document.

As gambling evolves, so must our approach to preventing harm

As venues change, not least due to technology, and as new research emerges about gambling behaviour, best practice for providing safe environments and supporting responsible gambling will inevitably evolve.

The guide will continue to be both a key part of our work with the gaming industry to support responsible gambling and an important plank of our sporting club program's charter.

Brett Hetherington
Brett Hetherington

Brett Hetherington is the senior industry engagement coordinator at the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. In this role he assists the foundation's gaming industry partners in the promotion of responsible gambling, and supports the management of Gambler's Help programs for the gaming industry. Brett loves his sport, good food, great wine and sweet, delicious chocolate.

Tony Phillips
Tony Phillips

Tony Phillips is the head of knowledge and policy at the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation and manages its Gambling Information Resource Office. He was formally an academic teaching public policy, political economy and modern history. Tony moved into gambling when he became research manager at Victoria’s Responsible Gambling Advocacy Centre in 2010. He has also worked in broadcasting and journalism.

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