Investigation Launched into Melbourne Football Club’s Partnership with Crypto Casino Magnate

Investigation Launched into Melbourne Football Club’s Partnership with Crypto Casino Magnate
Investigation Launched into Melbourne Football Club’s Partnership with Crypto Casino Magnate

Melbourne Victory Joins Responsible Gambling Campaign

Melbourne Victory, a soccer club partly owned by Miami-based private equity group 777 Partners, has joined the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation’s “love the game, not the odds” campaign. In 2019, the club pledged not to partner with gambling brands in an effort to protect children from the dangers of gambling exposure.

In a video supporting the campaign, a club player highlights that the first generation of kids exposed to gambling advertising is now the largest group of sports betters in Victoria.

Defending the Partnership with Kick

Despite its commitment to the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Melbourne Victory has defended its decision to sign a partnership deal with Kick, an “e-sports” platform. The club claims that all its commercial partnerships meet the requirements of its current guidelines, which are constantly reviewed.

However, Carol Bennett, the chief executive of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, criticizes Melbourne Victory for prioritizing money over the wishes of its fans. She believes that the club should consider the impact on its fans and future supporters.

Kick’s Response and Trust Controls

Kick, which promotes Stake.com, an online casino, asks users to confirm their age before accessing certain content, including gambling. The company assures that it has strong trust and safety controls in place to protect users from inappropriate content and prevent children from accessing gambling-related material. Kick emphasizes that gambling is just one of many categories of content on its platform and is not the most prominent category in Australia.

Criticism and Concerns

The partnership between Melbourne Victory and Kick has drawn criticism from various parties. Elizabeth Handsley, the president of Children and Media Australia, believes that accepting sponsorship from a gambling-related company contradicts Melbourne Victory’s commitment to avoid working with such companies.

Carol Bennett of the Alliance for Gambling Reform expresses her concern that sites like Kick are normalizing gambling for children and roping them into the activity. She points out that 50% of 10-year-olds already have access to some form of gambling.

Financial Challenges and Ownership Change

Melbourne Victory’s managing director, Caroline Carnegie, has previously acknowledged that the club’s finances are not ideal. The club was fined a record amount by Football Australia after a violent pitch invasion during a match in December. The club’s financial struggles led to private equity group 777 acquiring a stake in Melbourne Victory after the club reported a $6.7 million loss in its 2021-22 accounts.

Author’s Quote

“We must prioritize the well-being of our young fans and protect them from the harmful effects of gambling. It is crucial for sports clubs to take responsibility and make ethical decisions when it comes to partnerships that may influence children.”

Author’s Conclusion

The partnership between Melbourne Victory and Kick raises concerns about the normalization of gambling among children. It is essential for clubs to prioritize their fans’ well-being and consider the impact of their partnerships on young supporters. Responsible gambling campaigns play a vital role in raising awareness and protecting vulnerable individuals from the dangers of excessive gambling.

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