Following last month’s furore over gambling companies streaming FA matches through their apps, leading British bookies are now considering a voluntary ban on shirt sponsorship.
Representatives of the five major online gambling groups all shared the concerns voiced by peers at a committee hearing on 4 February over the level of advertising in sports. “What is the difference between an advert 10 minutes before a game and gambling ads whistling all around the park when most people are watching the game?” said GVC chief executive, Kenny Alexander.
“We have ended it. As I said earlier, I think that gaming companies’ adverts are too much in the face of consumers.
Perimeter adverts, shirt sponsorship and TV advertising are areas where I feel that it needs to be seriously curtailed.” Conor Grant, Chief Operating Officer at SkyBet, added that advertising “has its place” for regulated companies, and his firm had invested heavily in “grassroots and lower-league football in this country” but that the “tone and the frequency are all up for discussion.”
“I think there are good messages,” said Brigid Simmonds, of the Betting and Gaming Council. “All the sponsorship that goes on with clubs is about putting responsible messages up as well as the name, but we are actively considering our options.”
“Grassroots sports benefits from a lot of the money put into sport and we want that sponsorship to be used responsibly. We go into clubs and work with players and coaches to ensure they know the rules.”