Problem gambling campaigning groups Gambling With Lives and The Big Step will deliver a letter to the prime minister ,Boris Johnson, today calling for an end to gambling sponsorship in football.
The groups claim that football’s relationship with betting is at ‘saturation point’, with the letter to be delivered as The Big Step completes its journey from Reading to Downing Street via six football clubs with gambling shirt sponsors.
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% of fans would be happy for their club to be sponsored by a gambling company.”
This is despite a survey last year that suggested 71% of fans of the English Football League were comfortable with gambling sponsorship.
The groups are pushing for a ban on gambling logos on any football kit, pitchside perimeter advertising, in-stadia advertising of gambling companies and league sponsorships.
The letter added: “We are deeply concerned that impressionable young fans are being desensitised to the severe risks of addiction through gambling normalisation in football.”
Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the new standards body, Betting and Gaming Council, said: “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.”
Dugher added: “Millions of people regularly enjoy a flutter and do so safely and we will ensure that our standards are the highest in the world.”
Last week, William Hill decided to end its sponsorship with the Scottish FA amid reports that it is ‘distancing itself’ away from football sponsorship, whilst Sportpesa and Everton FC also announced that the organisations were bringing its sponsorship partnership to an end two years early.