The cozy relationship between Australian Football League (AFL) clubs and the sports betting industry has long been a flash point for Australia’s vocal anti-gambling forces.

That’s why a number of AFL clubs are getting on board with a new responsible gambling charter sponsored by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.

AFL clubs, which are very different from the billion dollar operations of the NFL or Premiere League, have long been criticized for accepting sponsorship and fundraising money from gambling operators.

Aussie gambling foes are particularly concerned that these sponsorship deals are having a negative impact on Australian children when they watch their favorite player sporting a sportsbook logo.

That’s where the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (VRGF) comes into the picture. The group recently introduced a new program called, Gambling’s Not A Game designed to help separate the AFL from the gambling industry.

Under the terms of the charter, AFL are asked to sever sponsorship deals with gambling operators; avoid using gambling for fund raising activities; and to keep gambling machines away from children.

In a statement to the press, as reported on by, VRGF CEO Serge Sardo says his group isn’t anti-gambling, they just want don’t want children exposed to gambling at an early age. Their efforts have met with support from The St. Kilde; Essendon; Hawthorn; Collingwood; North Melbourne; Melbourne Victory; and the Western Bulldogs clubs.

St. Kilda CEO Matt Finnis told reporters that his club is committed to the pillars of responsible gambling and was committed to the foundation’s plan.

Of course commitment only goes so far when there’s money involved. A number of Australian gambling foes have already pointed out that the same clubs that are backing away from sports betting are still profiting from poker machines at their facilities. They point out that pokies at facilities owned by the Hawthorn Club, for example, pull in about $22 million a year.

So far, a total of 140 Australian sporting groups have signed on to the Responsible Gambling Charter.

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