Shirt Sponsorship Concerns Continue

It’s Safer Gambling Week in the UK and the subject of shirt sponsorship in sport is again in the headlines.

The Kindred Group owns Unibet and 32Red who have sponsorship deals with Middlesbrough and Glasgow Rangers. From October 17-23, their shirts will have the Zero % Mission logo rather than the names of the betting companies.

This is part of the Kindred Group’s commitment to achieve 0% of revenues from gambling harm by the end of next year. The commitment has been in place since 2020.

Middlesbrough have games against Wigan Athletic (October 19) and Huddersfield Town (October 22). Rangers have a Scottish League quarter final game against Dundee United on October 19.

The Kindred Group have again called for UK operators to follow suit and aim to reduce gambling harms to their lowest possible levels. Their UK general manager is Neil Banbury who commented: “We’re committed to implementing a new kind of sponsorship model together with the clubs and communities we support.”

He added that Safer Gambling Week is a “ good time to reflect on the continued progress we have made in terms of protecting customers, as well as the improvements we continue to make through advances in our technology and processes.” It was stressed though that they still have “further to go” but they are ”confident that our approach is delivering results.”

Meanwhile Luton Town have shown their continued support for The Big Step campaign against gambling. They dedicated their Championship home fixture against QPR on Friday October 14 to spread awareness of the support group.

The Big Step is critical of Safer Gambling Week and the call of the industry to “use addictive products “safely.””. They have criticised the gambling industry for not coming out and saying that “safer gambling” begins with a safer gambling industry. The continued advertising of free bets and bonuses continues to upset The Big Step, especially as some adverts are seen by children.

Sponsorship of football continues to be something they campaign against. They believe there is “no justification for football to promote something that’s killing people and destroying families.”

The Big Step was set up by Ben Grimes, who himself is in recovery from gambling addiction. Speaking about Luton’s support he said: “I want to thank everybody at Luton Town for giving us the opportunity to raise awareness of gambling harms and the need for change. It means the world to me that this issue is being taken seriously by a club like yours.”