Following the increase in children involved in betting and gambling, the UK government has urged the Premier League to cut down on the volume of gambling ads within stadiums in a bid to protect children from being exposed to gambling.
Dame Caroline Dinenage, a Member of Parliament in the UK, said: “More should be done…[over] what often seems like a bombardment of advertising branding at football and other sporting events”.
Although eight Premier League clubs carry gambling brands on their shirts in deals worth an estimated £60 million per year, agreements have been reached to phase out these sponsorships by the end of the 2025-26 season.
The cross-party committee noted that the move won’t significantly reduce the overall volume of betting adverts, as clubs can still display betting sponsor logos on shirt sleeves and LED perimeter advertising.
Additionally, the committee critiqued the “whistle-to-whistle” TV advert ban as ineffective, given the pervasive exposure to advertisements within stadiums and on screens during live matches.
The MPs proposed a gambling sponsorship code to curtail stadium adverts and allocate more space for responsible gambling messages.
They criticised the delayed release of this code and advocated for immediate publication by relevant sporting bodies, urging government intervention if necessary.
While supporting the gambling white paper’s approach to minimising harm without overly restricting freedoms, the committee emphasised the need for stricter regulations on advertising, suggesting different regulations for horse and greyhound racing due to their historical betting ties.
Dinenage said: “More should be done to shield both children and people who have experienced problem gambling from what often seems like a bombardment of advertising branding at football and other sporting events”.
The Premier League and government are collaborating to create a new code for responsible gambling sponsorship, but the committee asserts that more stringent measures are essential.
In 2022, UK footballers were among celebrities banned from appearing in gambling adverts that targeted youngsters under new rules.
A spokesperson for the Big Step campaign group, which fights to end all gambling in football, commented: “Gambling advertising in our national sport is out of control, with thousands of ads for addictive products infecting the minds of children every single match. Behind every advert is the reality that gambling causes devastating harm to millions of families in the UK.
“Although it’s welcome that these MPs are calling for action, sadly their recommendations do not touch the sides. If they’re deemed harmful enough to be reduced, then all ads should be removed from every football ground. This government or the next must end all gambling advertising and sponsorship in football.”