Thursday, 27 February 2020

Campaigners Urge Prime Minister To Ban Football Betting Sponsorships


Campaigners have called for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ban football betting sponsorships.

Problem gambling campaign groups Gambling With Lives and The Big Step have called for the Prime Minister to end all football betting and gambling sponsorships. According to reports, the two groups delivered a letter to Johnson which states that football relationship with betting is at “saturation point”.

The letter called for the ban as part of a move to tackle irresponsible gambling and addictions. Reports state that of the 44 football teams in the Premier League and Championship, 27 of them have betting company logos on their shirts as part of current sponsorship deals.

According to BBC Sport, the letter from campaigners read: “We believe there would be considerable support for a ban from fans. A recent survey by the Football Supporters’ Association found that only 13% of gans would be happy for their club to be sponsored by a gambling company.”

The letter reportedly highlights a survey which revealed that gambling adverts and logos were visible on the BBC’s Match Of The Day programme for almost 90% of its airtime. The campaigners added: “We are deeply concerned that impressionable young fans are being desensitised to the severe risks of addiction through gambling normalisation in football.”

Campaigns urged Johnson to ban football gambling sponsorships in the same way tobacco sponsorships ended in the early 2000s. The campaigns have also called for a change in legislation to ban gambling logos on football kits, ban pitchside advertisements for gambling, ban in-stadium advertising for gambling, and to end all sponsorships by gambling firms.

Football Gambling Sponsorships

Campaigners and MPs have been calling for an end or better regulation of football gambling sponsorships over the last few years. In 2018, some of the UK’s biggest betting firms agreed to a “whistle-to-whistle” ban on television gambling adverts.  Under the ban, gambling adverts will not air during a live match.

The news comes after former Football Association (FA) Chief Executive Mark Palios said that football’s links with the gambling industry have gone “too far”. Palios, who is currently the chairman for the Tranmere Rovers football club, urged for a ban on gambling sponsorships and revealed that he has not and will not be accepting any sponsorships for the Tranmere Rangers.

Earlier this year, the Betting and Gaming Council revealed that it was considering implementing a voluntary ban on football shirt sponsorships and pitch-side advertisements, a move which has garnered the support of dozens of campaigners, MPs and former gamblers.

Meanwhile, the UK Gambling Commission is tightening its regulations over online casinos. In January, the Commission announced that it will be banning credit card use at both online and brick-and-mortar casinos in April. The regulatory body is also considering banning VIP schemes but has not yet announced new rules regarding them.