Radical report to call for ban on gambling advertisements in sport

Radical report by powerful group of MPs to call for ban on ALL gambling advertising in sport after year-long inquiry into damaging impact of betting on communities

  • All-party parliamentary group have conducted year-long gambling inquiry 
  • Report will recommend stopping betting adverts on TV, online and in stadiums 
  • They will also call for ban on football shirt sponsorship by betting firms 
  • One line reads: ‘There is now an inextricable link between gambling and sports’ 

All gambling advertising in sport should be banned, according to radical proposals put forward to the Government by an influential group of MPs.

An all-party parliamentary group (APPG) has concluded a year-long inquiry into the impact of gambling-related harm in communities.

And they will publish a report on Tuesday which recommends ending football shirt sponsorship by betting firms, as well as banning all gambling adverts in stadiums, on TV and online.

Plenty of Premier League sides feature betting advertisements on matchday at their stadiums

The group, which contains more than 50 MPs and peers, has previously secured legislative change and their findings could shape the Government’s promised review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

In the report, which has been seen by Sportsmail, it states: ‘There is now an inextricable link between gambling and sports that has led many to rightly talk of the “gamblification of sport”.

‘Young people are at football matches not enjoying the game but engaged in a 90 minute non-stop high-speed gambling experience, live betting on the next goal or corner.’

The report is also critical of the video game FIFA including betting logos on clubs’ shirts and says: ‘It is imperative that gambling advertising is also banned in online games which young children are playing often for many hours daily.’

Half of the Premier League clubs have betting companies as their main shirt sponsors, as do 17 of the 24 teams in the Championship, which is also sponsored by Sky Bet.

Labour MP Carolyn Harris, the APPG chair, told Sportsmail: ‘We are particularly concerned about the impact that gambling advertising can have on children and vulnerable people.

‘It normalises and glamorises gambling and children are exposed to gambling advertising through all mediums including on football shirts, hoardings and in games such as FIFA.

‘Self-regulation by the industry has not worked and gambling advertising across all mediums should be banned.’

The report is to propose a ban on gambling advertising in all sport following a year-long inquiry

The report is to propose a ban on gambling advertising in all sport following a year-long inquiry

The publication of the report comes just a day before the return of the Premier League, with campaigners fearing a betting ‘frenzy’ with all matches shown live on TV to fans who are not allowed at games.

Betting firms are expected to look to capitalise on the captive audience with increased marketing, especially on apps, while broadcasts will feature gambling advertising on digital hoardings around the empty grounds.

Last summer, the gambling industry voluntary introduced a ban on adverts being shown on TV for a ‘whistle to whistle’ period, starting five minutes before a match and ending five minutes after.

But the APPG report adds: ‘The sector urgently needs to adopt a more responsible approach on advertising, particularly during sports programmes in order to protect children and the vulnerable.

‘We welcomed the ‘whistle to whistle’ television advertising ban. Yet, for the advertising ban to be truly effective, these companies need to go even further to include shirt and league sponsorship and digital advertising around a pitch. Otherwise, children and vulnerable adults will continue to be bombarded with gambling adverts.’

Jose Mourinho, pictured here on a Paddy Power golf day, faced calls to cut ties with the firm

Jose Mourinho, pictured here on a Paddy Power golf day, faced calls to cut ties with the firm

In February, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said he would cooperate with the Government’s review of the Gambling Act but would oppose the banning of advertising on shirts.

At the weekend, Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho faced calls from anti-gambling campaigners to cut ties with Paddy Power, who he became an ambassador of last year before landing the Spurs job.

Mourinho has featured in online ads promoting casino games during lockdown. Earlier this month, the Gambling Commission reported their concerns about betting habits during this period.

A Paddy Power spokesperson told Sportsmail: ‘Throughout the Covid-19 period, Paddy Power has been acutely aware of additional pressures our customers may be facing and have worked hard to ensure the way we contact our customers and all of our responsible gambling tools and measures have been adapted with that in mind.

‘We are continuing to work extremely hard to ensure we are adhering to the most rigorous possible standards, so our customers can enjoy our products safely.’

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