Shirts carrying gambling logos must be banned, demands report
Gambling sponsorship on football shirts should be banned to prevent children being lured into betting, says a cross-party committee of peers led by Lord Grade, the former BBC chairman.
In a 192-page special inquiry on the gambling industry, the committee called for all the £350million shirt sponsorship deals held by half the Premier League clubs to be phased out immediately. It set a 2023 deadline for the 17 of the 24 Championship teams to ditch them.
The committee also proposed there should be no gambling advertising in or near any sports grounds or venues.
“We have to disabuse children of the idea that gambling and football are synonymous. It’s not healthy,” Lord Grade told The Daily Telegraph. “In young minds, the association of gambling and soccer is so normalised that we have to wean the football clubs off their reliance on gambling sponsorship.”
The committee also recommended a statutory duty of care should be placed on gambling firms that would give players an automatic right to sue them for any breaches, such as allowing someone to bet beyond their means.
The committee blamed the rise of online gambling, fuelled by smart phones, for the 350,000 problem gamblers, including 55,000 children. On average, it said, a problem gambler committed suicide every day.
The committee also urged the Gambling Commission, the industry watchdog, to take a tougher approach to errant gambling firms, including removing their licence to operate if they allowed players to gamble beyond their means.
“It should be a licence condition of an operator that they take all reasonable steps to understand what their customers can afford,” Lord Grade said.
The lords proposed a compulsory statutory levy with the money earmarked to treat addicts, a move also backed yesterday by 30 leading scientists in an open letter to the British Medical Journal.
“Lax regulation must be replaced by a more robust and focused regime that prioritises the welfare of gamblers ahead of industry profits,” Lord Grade said.
Chest logo: Wayne Rooney’s Derby are among the teams backed by gambling firms