Cricketer Calls for Reduction in Gambling Advertising

Hampshire cricketer Chris Wood has criticised the level of gambling advertising in sport and called for it to be reduced.

Wood, 30, last year admitted to having problems with a gambling addiction. The Hampshire seam bowler was given a suspended two month ban for gambling on cricket matches. He told how it got so bad for him that the desire to gamble took up “almost every hour” of his life.

Since coming out about his gambling problem, he has been working with the Professional Cricketers Association. His job is to give advice to young academy players warning them of the importance of responsible gambling.

The cricketer believes that there is simply too much gambling advertising. His view is that they are “just so in-your-face” and can be seen wherever you go. That’s particularly the case when sport is being shown on television. One in five adverts are of a gambling nature, though you can hardly expect ads for knitting can you?

The high amount of gambling advertisements didn’t help Wood as he tried to cope with his problem. They made it hard for him in the first six months of his recovery to “try to escape my feelings and emotions around gambling.” No one forced him to watch them though and knowing there are going to be gambling related adverts, he could have gone and made a cup of tea or something to avoid them.

There are several sports players that have had problems with gambling. Wood believes that the fact they have a “winning and losing mentality” causes difficulties when they gamble. They want to get winners of course but what happens when that doesn’t happen?

It’s a problem that has also been highlighted by former Arsenal and England footballer Tony Adams. There are also problems with drugs and alcohol but Adams is of the opinion that gambling presents a greater problem.

Wood isn’t the first to criticise the amount of gambling advertising. Peter Shilton has also spoken on the subject. The former England goalkeeper feels there is “no moral justification for gambling sponsorship.” He also believes that there should be a ban on gambling advertising on shirts.

The links between gambling companies and sports teams is inevitable though. People love to bet on sport and as long as they do so responsibly, there isn’t a real problem. However, there are growing calls for the amount of gambling adverts to be reduced and shirt sponsorship banned.

As lockdown began, there was a massive concern re gambling. With more time on our hands, the fear was that a lot more time would be spent going online to gamble. The number of gambling advertisements were reduced.

There is also the review of the 2005 Gambling Act for sports teams and gambling companies to worry about. The word is that there will be a ban imposed of sports teams having the names of gambling companies on their shirts. Such a move would see millions of pounds taken out of sport, problems indeed for the future.