Bolton Nearly End Links with Gambling

The relationship between football clubs and gambling companies continues to be a controversial one. League One Bolton Wanderers have said that they will no longer have any dealings with the gambling industry but will continue to run a club lottery!

Sharon Brittain is the chair of Bolton, who won promotion to League One last season. Her view is that “problem gambling ruins lives” and fans won’t be able to place any wagers when attending games at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Nor will the club that so nearly went out of business two years ago, sign any sponsorship or partnership deals with betting companies. Despite their outspoken views on the subject, their CEO Neil Hart says they will be respectful to the links that other clubs and the EFL have re betting sponsorship.

This includes their official website having a direct link to SkyBet. However, the CEO said that the club will “not take part in any activity to promote gambling outside the existing contractual requirements.” They don’t mind obesity though as one of their sponsors is Carrs Pasties.

Bolton have said that they will now aim to support organisations and charities that help with betting problems. Talking about the dangers of becoming addicted to gambling, the Bolton chair said: “Latest research shows that there are between 340,000 and 1.4 million adult gambling addicts in the UK and over 60,000 young people aged between 11 and 16 are addicted.”
“We as an industry must do more and through our work with Bolton Wanderers in the Community, Bolton Wanderers Football Club will support outreach programmes for those who experience gambling problems.”

The club have a partnership with Whsyup, who are a charity based in Bolton. They raise awareness on both addiction and menta health. Their work includes awareness presentations and workshops. Co-Director of Whysup is Mark Murray who has had his own gambling problems in the past. For 13 years, he had a gambling addiction and knows only too well that “reaching out and asking for help can be a huge step and a lifesaving one.”

When is gambling not gambling? Well, the answer is when you buy a ticket for the lottery that the club runs. This raises money for good causes that are club-related and supporter engagement projects.

It’s still gambling though, isn’t it? You can’t on one hand help people with gambling problems and then promote a lottery. The site includes stories from winners, the kind that inspires others to go out and buy tickets. One says: “When I first did the lottery, I seem to remember the top prize was a car, that was something to go for.” That may not be the prize now, but it’s still promoting gambling.