Part of the current movement to crack down on gambling and its ties with football currently sees bookmakers ‘considering’ a voluntary ban of their advertising.
With gambling being such a hard thing to escape these days and the various problems that arrive with it, it is no surprise to see movements being put in place to aid those who have been affected and still could be affected by it.
Although it has not yet been agreed upon, various bookmakers are ‘considering’ a voluntary ban on pitchside advertising and football shirt sponsors. Gambling currently has a huge connection with football and many consider this an unhealthy connection. A total of half of the Premier League teams are currently sponsored by bookmakers, while 17 of the 24 sides in the Championship are also sponsored by a bookmaker. With bookmakers’ sponsors so clearly visible across some of the most-watched football leagues in the world, concerns are growing on the potential negative impact it could have on ‘vulnerable people’.
This movement is an expansion on the already put in place project known as the ‘Whistle to Whistle’ ban, which prohibits the advertising of gambling during live sports broadcasts. According to the Chair of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), Brigid Simmonds the whistle to whistle campaign has already reduced the amount of gambling advertising on television by 86%. However, this was not necessarily considered a win as some of the advertising is likely to have moved to online sources.
After being asked whether her organisation was considering banning gambling from the likes of clubs football shirts and ground advertising boards, Brigid stated: “We are certainly looking at the whole issue of sponsorship. “I think, as one of us said earlier, there are good messages. All the sponsorship that goes with clubs is about putting responsible messages on shirts as well as the name. “We want that sponsorship to be used responsibly.”
Although the majority of bookmakers are still ‘considering’ the voluntary ban, GVC who are the parent company of Ladbrokes and Coral, have already removed their sponsorship from football. Chief executive of Bet365, John Coates and vice-chairman of Stoke City says he ‘welcomes’ the review of the Gambling Act after recognising the strong-hold that gambling firms have on football. However, Coates went onto say that “Stoke City survives on the money we put into it.” referring to the money made from the advertisement of the clubs bet365 sponsor.
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