Footballers to be Banned from Gambling Advertisements

The links between football and gambling companies is a controversial one. It’s been revealed on April 5 that from October, footballers will be banned from gambling advertisements.

This ban will also affect celebrities and social media influencers. The decision to make the ban has been made by the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP). It will see anyone with a “strong appeal” to young people being used from being used in advertisements that target under-18s.

News of the ban has received approval from the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC). Their chief executive, Michael Dugher, said that it will “drive up standards and ensure further protections in advertising.”

This move is part of the commitment by CAP to protect both the young and vulnerable. Gambling and lottery advertisements should not be aimed at under-18s, especially “by reflecting or being associated with youth culture.” Also against the rules will be the making of references to video game content and gameplay that under-18s will be familiar with.

The announcement comes at a time when a growing number of people are voicing their fears over gambling addiction. Paul Merson has regularly spoken about the serious problems he has had with gambling.

He said that it “sickens” him when seeing former players and managers being featured in gambling advertisements. That list would include Jack Wilshere and Harry Redknapp who have worked with Paddy Power and BetVictor respectively.

Bookmakers regularly use current and former footballers as brand ambassadors. Coral Racing have former Love Island contestant Chris Hughes working for them in that way.

The director of CAP is Shahriar Coupal. Speaking about the upcoming ban, they said: “By ending these practices, our new rules invite a new era for gambling ads, more particular to the adult audience they can target and more befitting of the age-restricted product they’re promoting.”

Will the ban work though? The chairman of Peers for Gambling Reform is Lord Don Foster. He’s keen to see what he calls “outdated” legislation changed to address the problems of gambling addiction. He has warned that this new gambling advertisement ban won’t solve the problem.

He believes that it will not put a stop to gambling advertisements appearing on players shirts and in other promotional ways. The peer has called for the UK government to ban all links between sports and gambling. He also wants an end to “free bets” and other forms of direct marketing. Over £1.5 billion was spent by gambling companies last year promoting their products, he added.

A white paper is due out in May to outline what new regulations the government is planning for the gambling industry. More restrictions or a ban on betting companies sponsoring sports teams is a possibility.