GambleAware seeks open discussion on football & betting launching #CanWeHaveOurBallBack

Presenting its latest social media initiative – #CanWeHaveOurBallBack, industry charity GambleAware seeks to encourage public discussion related to football’s relationship with betting.

#CanWeHaveOurBallBack comes off the back of recent financial analysis by GambleAware and industry strategic consultancy Regulus Partners which details that ‘80% of marketing spend by gambling companies is focused on online verticals’.

Leading the social campaign, Marc Etches, Chief Executive of GambleAware, details that industry stakeholders have to reflect whether football betting advertising is increasingly ‘contributing to the normalisation of gambling for underage audiences.

“We recognise that gambling-related sponsorship and advertising are important sources of funding for both professional football and grass-roots community participation in the sport,” said Etches.

“However, there is growing public concern about the nature and extent of the relationship between football and betting. In particular, whether the extent of betting-related marketing around football is contributing to the normalisation of gambling for children.”

“This film-led initiative is intended to appeal to anyone who loves football. We hope it will encourage them to reflect on why they love the game, and whether the current relationship between football and betting is undermining what it means to be an authentic fan.

“We are not advocating any specific solutions, but we do want to invite anyone interested to take part in the conversation, thereby helping us to raise awareness of gambling as a public health issue, and to reduce the harms that arise. You can help to do this simply by sharing the film across your social media channels and use the #CanWeHaveOurBallBack.”

The social initiative coincides with last week’s ‘Young People & Gambling 2018 Report published by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), urging for a greater collaboration from all UK-wide stakeholders (betting, sports, hospitality, schools and parents) in preventing underage audiences from engaging with gambling products/services.

Supporting the UKGC’s research, GambleAware has commissioned studies into the impacts of gambling-related marketing, which will report in 2019.

#CanWeHaveOurBallBack is backed by The Scottish Football Supporters Association, with co-founder Paul Goodwin commenting: “There’s nothing wrong with a flutter and lots of our members enjoy a bet. But for too many, it’s a slippery slope towards addiction.

“We need checks and balances and more controls, as well as more information on the help and support that is there for players and fans. Clubs and leagues are in great position to take a lead on this, and I think that’s a responsibility they have for as long as they insist on taking money from the gambling industry.”