A recent poll by Survation reveals that one third of football supporters would think twice about purchasing their team’s shirt if it features a betting sponsor. Further, it reveals that 44% of them would ban all gambling advertising, sponsorship and promotion in football altogether.
Commissioned by the Coalition Against Gambling Ads and Clean up Gambling, lobbying groups for stricter regulation of British gambling, the poll suggests that football fans are weary of the gambling industry’s perceived targeting of the game.
The director of Clean up Gambling, Matt Zarb-Cousin, commented: “The government would have the backing of football fans if it decided to move against gambling ads, and clubs would benefit from an increase in shirt sales.” Indeed, a recent article revealed that Aston Villa and Everton shirt sales increased 60% and 50% respectively after the teams removed their gambling sponsors.
However, a drastic move against gambling ads may damage the football sector as a whole.
A spokesperson for the Betting and Gaming Council responded: “While betting helps to provide sports such as football with funding, it also enables TV channels to broadcast more sport than would otherwise be possible and plays a vital role in differentiating legally licensed operators from those in the black market who have none of the safety protections in place with UK operators.”
We reported recently here that a major overhaul of UK gambling laws is on the horizon. If this overhaul includes a crackdown on gambling brands sponsoring football shirts, one can only hope that Parliament, well-versed in scoring own goals, does not do the exact opposite of what it intends and stifle both the football and gambling sectors.
“The BGC is determined to drive up standards across the betting and gaming industry and looks forward to working with the government on its forthcoming gambling review to do just that.”