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Children’s Football Programmes Saturated With Gambling Ads, Says Study

Football

A new study has sparked concern after revealing that children’s football programmes are saturated with gambling ads.

A study published on PsyArXiv by researchers from the University of East London, Anglia Ruskin and Warwick analysed 44 programmes from the Premier League and Championship and found that they featured an average of 2.3 gambling adverts, four times more than ads for alcohol.

What’s more, the study found that most programmes contain around 38 “accidental exposures” which include images of players wearing shirts sponsored by gambling firms. Researchers highlighted one case in which the logo for 888 Casino was featured as the answer to a Spot The Difference exercise in programmes aimed at Birmingham City fans. The activity included an image of the football team wearing shirts sponsored by the casino, and one image saw the omission of an 8 from 888 Casino’s logo.

According to The Guardian, researchers found that 39 of the 44 programmes studied included pages which specifically targeted children, 59% of which had pages that featured gambling logos or branding. None of these pages included messages about responsible gambling.

The report has sparked concern that despite efforts to reduce gambling advertisements and exposure to children, youngsters are still being exposed to marketing. Earlier this year, the UK government banned gambling adverts from being shown during live sports shown television before the 9 PM watershed. Adverts cannot appear for five minutes before the start of the match and five minutes after.

What They Say

In response to the news, A Birmingham City spokesperson told The Guardian: “We take very seriously our responsibility in this field and the example brought to our attention, which was from more than a year ago, will have been an oversight on our part and certainly not indicative of something that is typical of our club.”

Kev Gelland, the Operations Director at the Youth Gambling Charity YGAM, added: “I often quote my own kids – a recent example of this is my son, who is 10, was at his gran’s the other week and was drawing a picture of a football match, which included the advertising hoarding and the branding of a well-known gambling operator written on it.”

Dr Steven Sharman, a research fellow at the University of East London and one of the study’s co-authors, said: “While a significant amount of discussions is currently centred around TV gambling advertising, the average football fan can be exposed to significant amounts of gambling marketing through other channels.

“This research shows that the average matchgoing fan is exposed to almost 40 gambling brand placements, and around 2.5 gambling adverts through the matchday programme alone. This comes at a time when 78% of young people say that betting has become a normal part of sport. Whilst the whistle-to-whistle ban on TV adverts may reduce the number of actual adverts during live sport, football fans are still exposed to a variety of gambling marketing through other channels.”

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