Ladbrokes owner calls for ban on UK soccer shirt betting sponsorships
GVC Holdings, the group which owns bookmakers Ladbrokes and Coral, has called for an end to all sports betting advertising during broadcasts, as well as a ban on football shirt sponsorship by gambling companies.
The global gambling operator’s proposals, which do not extend to horseracing and greyhound racing broadcasts, would allow adverts specifically promoting responsible and safer gambling, although those would be strictly limited to one advertisement per commercial break.
GVC claims that its request for a round-the-clock broadcast advertising ban would help ‘to tackle the issue of gambling related harm head-on’.
The company added that the call goes further than the betting industry’s pre-watershed, ‘whistle-to-whistle’ ban on advertising during live sports broadcasts, which was announced in December and is set to be introduced at the beginning of the 2019/20 English football season.
GVC also revealed its own package of further initiatives as part of its ‘Changing for the Bettor’ campaign, including bans on perimeter board advertising at football stadiums, increased investment on gambling treatment centres and education.
Commenting on the new proposals, GVC Chief Executive Kenny Alexander said that the betting industry “should and can do more to protect the vulnerable”, adding that it is “high time” for gambling companies to implement further measures “to protect its customers from potential harm”.
The move comes at a time of growing concern over the involvement of betting companies in British sport. Last year Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the British Labour party, referred to gambling as an “epidemic”, citing more than 430,000 problem gamblers in the UK.
At present, gambling adverts are a staple of Sky Sports’ Premier League coverage, while nine clubs in English soccer’s top flight and 17 in the second-tier Championship are currently sponsored by betting firms.
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