Carolyn Harris: Banning gambling sponsorships ‘one of the most obvious things to do’

Carolyn Harris MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm (GRH APPG) has spoken out about gambling sponsorships, reiterating that banning gambling companies from being front-of-shirt sponsors is ‘one of the most obvious things to do’.

Reported by the Guardian, Harris expressed that a new Gambling Act should prohibit shirt sponsorships across all English football leagues – a recommendation shared by the House of Lords Select Committee on Gambling which this month published its ‘Time for Action‘ report on industry safer gambling directives.

“I think the government needs to do more to support football clubs in terms of finances,” she said. “I’ve got no problem with sponsorship but it needs to be something that is far more family-friendly instead of things that can cause addiction. It’s the messaging that’s really important. It’s a family environment and therefore the sponsorship needs to come from a family organisation.
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“It’s one of the most obvious things to do and all the groups who have reported or commented on this have said it is an area [ministers] need to tackle immediately. So I’m quite confident that will happen.”

It comes after the Spanish government introduced a ban on gambling companies from sponsoring La Liga teams, which is due to affect eight teams in the league.

In the Premier League, nine out of 20 teams are sponsored by a betting company, increasing to 17 of the 24 Championship teams.

Prior to the House of Lords publishing its report, betting leadership had stated its commitment to reduce marketing exposure through football.

Last season, FTSE100 GVC Holdings donated its entire UK football sponsorship portfolio to Cancer charities, whilst Sky Bet the title sponsor the English Football League states that it will only promote responsible gambling advertising to football audiences.

Entering 2020, DCMS Sports Minister that a revision of ‘football links with betting’ would play a central part in how the government reviews the 2005 Gambling Act.

“It’s the loyalty thing for kids that really worries me. Kids do see it as being loyal to their football club to use that bookmaker for gambling. Fifa 2020 replicates [reality] entirely. If your team has a gambling logo, on the game it shows that gambling logo.

“From a very, very early age we’ve normalised the association between football and gambling. This is where we get this problem in later life. Young people grow up believing to become involved in gambling is completely normal without knowing anything about the consequences of when it crosses that line.”

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