Growing Campaign against Gambling Sponsorship in Sport

This weekend has been an important one for those campaigning against gamblind advertising and sponsorship in football. Several teams agreed to show their support for the Big Step campaign.

The list of participating clubs includes Forest Green who won away at South Shields in the FA Cup first round. The League One club and others supporting Big Step wore yellow laces.

Others taking part included Tranmere Rovers who wore yellow T-shirts as they warmed up for their FA Cup tie against Carlisle United. Away from the FA Cup ties, Dulwich Hamlet, Headingley AFC, Llantwit Major and Billericay Town also showed their support as did women’s teams, Glasgow City and Lewes FC. The show of support came during Addiction Awareness Week.

At present, there are eight Premier League teams and six in the Championship that have front-of-shirt gambling deals. There are plans for Premier League clubs to vote on whether there should be a voluntary ban on such deals. The English Football League is sponsored by Sky Bet but are not keen on ending that deal as they believe it would cost their members £40 million a year.

The UK government still has to publish their White Paper on gambling reform. It’s believed they would prefer a voluntary ban to come into force rather than having to impose a compulsory ban.

Commenting on the current situation, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) say that previous government research had not established “a causal link between exposure to advertising and the development of problem gambling.”

They added that it is not allowed to use betting operators’ logos on children’s clothing. However, they did not mention the recent incidents that saw action taken over the presence of betting logos on pages that are aimed at children.

Meanwhile, Entain has made an announcement about shirt sponsorship of sportspeople in Australia. Their Ladbrokes and Neds brands will no longer be doing this. Talking to the Sydney Morning Herald, they said that “we understand some of the community sentiment around this (gambling sponsorship) and feel it is the right time to step away from this area.”

This summer saw Ladbrokes end their deal with the Brisbane Broncos. That followed a tax increase that included free and bonus bets plus a 5% racing levy.
Neds have been the official gambling partner of both the A-League and UFC Australia. They also had a sponsorship deal with the Brisbane Lions, though that didn’t see their name on their shirts.
A poll carried out by the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age found that 62% of those surveyed wanted a permanent ban on gambling companies sponsoring professional sport.