A letter to prime minister Boris Johnson has been delivered today, as problem gambling campaigners call for an end to gambling sponsorship in football.
Gambling With Lives and The Big Step believe football’s relationship with gambling is at “saturation point.”
The groups are pushing for a ban on gambling logos on any football kit, pitch side perimeter advertising, in-stadia advertising of gambling companies and league sponsorship.
The Football League’s three divisions, Championship, League One and League Two, are sponsored by betting firms and of the 44 teams in the Premier League and Championship, 27 of them feature a betting company on their shirts.
The letter states: “We believe there would be considerable support for a ban from fans. A recent survey by the Football Supporters’ Association found that only 13 per cent of fans would be happy for their club to be sponsored by a gambling company.
“We are deeply concerned that impressionable young fans are being desensitised to the severe risks of addiction through gambling normalisation in football.”
In response to today’s statement by the Gambling with Lives charity, the chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, Michael Dugher, is “determined” to make big changes across the betting and gaming industry.
Dugher added: “We take our responsibility to protect young people and those at risk of harm incredibly seriously.
“As part of our safer gambling commitments, our members have already introduced a ‘whistle to whistle’ ban on advertising during sport; substantially increased funding for research, education and treatment; implemented new ID and age-verification checks; ended any suggestion of exclusive rights to screen FA Cup games and will ban betting with credit cards.
“We are determined to drive big changes across the betting and gaming industry. Millions of people regularly enjoy a flutter and do so safely and we will ensure that our standards are the highest in the world.”
The letter comes after William Hill decided to end its sponsorship with the Scottish FA last week, following reports that it is ‘distancing itself’ away from football sponsorships, whilst Sportpesa and Everton FC also announced that the organisations were bringing its partnership to an end two years early.