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MPs call for football gambling ads cut

December 21, 2023

By Colin Mann

The Premier League and other sports governing bodies should commit to cutting the volume of gambling adverts in stadiums, MPs say, in a report that urges the Government to do more to minimise children’s exposure to gambling advertising.

The report on gambling regulation from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the UK House of Commons concludes that the Government should take a more precautionary approach to advertising than that proposed in the gambling White Paper and that there is scope for further regulation.

While welcoming the forthcoming voluntary withdrawal of gambling sponsorship from the front of Premier League players’ shirts, the cross-party Committee warns that this will not significantly reduce the volume of betting adverts visible during a game.

The report cites a recent study that found that front-of-shirt gambling branding consisted of just 7 per cent of all that was visible during the ten broadcast matches surveyed, with a further study revealing that nearly 7,000 gambling messages could be seen during six matches surveyed on the opening weekend of the season.

MPs therefore recommend that the new gambling sponsorship code of conduct the Government proposes to develop with sports governing bodies should include provision both to reduce gambling adverts in stadia and require that a higher proportion of advertising is dedicated to safer gambling messaging.

There should however be a distinct approach to gambling sponsorship and advertising for horseracing and greyhound racing, given their close and long-standing relationships with betting.

The report backs many of the provisions contained in the Government’s Gambling White Paper published earlier in 2023, including the principle of a new system of financial risk checks to be conducted by gambling operators on customer accounts that lose certain amounts of money within given timeframes. The Committee says however that there is work to do to ensure that they are minimally intrusive and protect financial data.

There is also support for the Government’s approach of establishing extra online protections for young adults, through a lower stake limit and thresholds for triggering financial risk checks, and for the introduction of a statutory levy to be paid by gambling operators to fund problem gambling research, prevention and treatment.

“While gambling regulation should not overly impinge on the freedom to enjoy what is a problem-free pastime for the majority, more should be done to shield both children and people who have experienced problem gambling from what often seems like a bombardment of advertising branding at football and other sporting events,” commented Dame Caroline Dinenage MP, Chair of the CMS Committee. “The Government needs to go further than the proposals in the White Paper and work with sports governing bodies on cutting the sheer volume of betting adverts people are being exposed to.”


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