Should there be a change to gambling sponsorship laws in football?

Welcome to the Chris Farnell sports lawyer Medium blog. Here is a piece of recent sports law news we wanted to share with you. Former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton, England’s most capped player, has proposed a change to gambling advertising in football because football team shirts are a way of exposing youngsters to gambling.

On Tuesday, he joined campaigners handing in a twelve thousand-strong petition to 10 Downing Street calling for an end to gambling sponsorship in football. However, some say it may cost clubs £40 million a year and result some clubs could go under but having other sponsors not in gambling is also an option.

The 71-year-old, who has been gambling for over 40 years, also delivered a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he feels the issue is very important as it leads to financial ruin, addiction and even suicide in some cases. He has written a book with his wife Steph about how he overcame his addiction and has quit gambling for over six years.

The government is reviewing changes to the 2005 Gambling Act, and plans to publish its findings and proposals by the end of 2021. However, the gambling companies themselves and how they treat gamblers may also be to blame. Assigning account managers and using online gamblers habits they work to keep them betting as much as possible. Their targets are based on spending, not player welfare and they know that it is inevitable that 5% of players will become addicted, and a portion of those have a lot to spend. 245,000 people in the UK alone have a gambling problem, according to the NHS. However, with COVID and lockdown this number may have increased. It is exploitative, and the backlash against other addictions like smoking has resulted in gambling being seen as a less-negative addiction.

DCMS said that they are committed to helping young people avoid getting into gambling and that the Department of Culture would ensure new laws “are fit for the digital age’’.

The government said that it had already received sixteen thousand responses to its call for evidence and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has offered to meet Gambling with Lives, who are involved in Shilton’s campaign promoting his new book to make sure that they make an impact.

A Betting and Gaming Council spokesperson said a whistle-to-whistle ban on TV betting commercials during live sport before the 9pm watershed “has led to a 97 per cent reduction in the ads being seen by children. This is the goal of the campaign, to teach young people that gambling is not normal and is harmful. It is not an essential part of the game. Find out more about Chris Farnell Charlton here. You can also find out more about Chris Farnell lawyer in the news.

Chris Farnell provides quality legal advice for leading sports individuals, Football League Clubs & media agents.