Shirts car­ry­ing gambling lo­gos must be banned, de­mands re­port

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Charles Hy­mas

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.

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