UK Football Fans Unite Against Gambling Ads

November 29, 2021
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A new coalition of nine UK football supporter groups is campaigning to ban all gambling advertising and sponsorships in the sport.

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A new coalition of nine UK football supporter groups is campaigning to ban all gambling advertising and sponsorships in the sport.

The Football Supporters Against Gambling Ads (Football SAGA) launched last Friday, the same week MP Tracey Crouch’s football fan-led review of the game was released with no mention of gambling advertising.

The new coalition is led by The Big Step campaign, a charity aimed at tackling football's relationship with gambling and part of the charity and pressure group Gambling with Lives.

James Grimes, the founder of The Big Step, said gambling should not have been ignored by the review as it was supposed to make football “fairer and more sustainable”.

“There is overwhelming public support for a ban on gambling advertising and sponsorship in football. We’re delighted to already have the support of nine supporters’ groups, and we look forward to welcoming many more to Football SAGA,” Grimes said.

A spokesperson for The Big Step told VIXIO GamblingCompliance that statistics regarding fan support for banning gambling ads are taken from market research firm Survation’s October 2020 poll of football fans.

Two-thirds of the supporters believe there is too much gambling advertising in football, according to the poll.

Additionally, 47 percent said gambling companies should be banned from sponsoring football teams and 44 percent said all gambling sponsorships should end.

Only one of the 20 current Premier League teams is not sponsored by or partnered with a gambling firm.

The most notable of the nine supporters group are Premier League side Arsenal’s Independent Supporter’s Association and Aston Villa’s Supporters’ Trust.

Mo Razzaq, club liaison officer at the Aston Villa Supporters’ Trust, believes gambling advertising has “saturated the game”.

“Compulsive gambling has a devastating impact on physical, mental and financial health. We need to take action against the damage it is doing to our communities and society as a whole,” Razzaq said.

Gambling advertising is likely to be covered in the government’s white paper on the ongoing Gambling Act review, which is set to be published in the coming months.

However, Gambling Commission deputy CEO Sarah Gardner did not mention advertising in her speech at the British Amusement Catering Trade Association (Bacta) Annual Convention 2021 last week.

Instead, Gardner said the Gambling Commission is continuing to pursue a single-customer view (SCV) in a bid to improve data sharing among operators.

Additionally, the regulator will continue to improve on its use of its own data, calling on operators to spend this business year ensuring their data quality processes are robust and fit for purpose.

“We still see too many instances of things that everyone agrees are failings and breaches we should not see. These failings are not historic — they are happening now and they are causing harm,” Gardner said.

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