Problem gambling lobbying organisations Gambling With Lives and The Big Step, on Thursday sent a letter to the prime minister, Boris Johnson, calling today for an end to football gambling sponsorship.
The groups claim that the relationship between football and betting is at’ saturation point’ with the letter to be delivered as The Big Step completes the journey from Reading to Downing Street across six football clubs with sponsors of gambling shirts.
The letter declares: “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 fans would be happy for their club to be sponsored by a gambling company.”
This is despite last year’s poll showing that 71 percent of English Football League fans were happy with gambling sponsorship.
The groups are pushing for a ban on gambling logos on any football kit, pitchside perimeter advertising, gambling company in-stadia advertising and league sponsorships.
The letter goes on to add: “We are deeply concerned that impressionable young fans are being desensitised to the severe risks of addiction through gambling normalisation in football.”
The chief executive of the new standards body, Betting and Gaming Council, Michael Dugher said:
“We take our responsibility to protect young people and those at risk of harm incredibly seriously.
“As part of our safer gambling commitments, our members have already introduced a ‘whistle to whistle’ ban on advertising during sport; substantially increased funding for research, education and treatment; implemented new ID and age-verification checks; ended any suggestion of exclusive rights to screen FA Cup games and will ban betting with credit cards.
“We are determined to drive big changes across the betting and gaming industry.”
He added: “Millions of people regularly enjoy a flutter and do so safely and we will ensure that our standards are the highest in the world.”
Last week, William Hill decided to end his sponsorship with the Scottish FA in the midst of reports that it’s ‘ distancing itself ‘ from the sponsorship of football, while Sportpesa and Everton FC also announced that their sponsorship partnership was ending two years early.