In a recent push for healthier advertising practices, UK Members of Parliament have called on the Premier League and other sports governing bodies to significantly reduce the amount of gambling adverts visible in stadiums. This initiative, highlighted in a report from the culture, media, and sport (CMS) committee, aims to minimize children’s exposure to gambling advertising.
Premier League Under Scrutiny
The Premier League, known for its wide visibility and influence, is at the forefront of this campaign. The CMS committee’s report, released on December 21, urges for a more conscious approach in advertising, particularly to safeguard children and individuals with a history of problem gambling.
A Shift Towards Safer Gambling Promotion
While the effort to reduce gambling ads is paramount, the MPs have also stressed the importance of promoting safer gambling practices. This move is seen as a balanced approach to address the issue without completely barring gambling ads, which are a significant source of revenue for many sports entities.
Special Consideration for Racing Sports
The report also acknowledges the unique relationship between horse and greyhound racing and gambling, suggesting a different regulatory approach for these sports due to their long-standing association with betting activities.
Dame Caroline Dinenage’s Perspective
Dame Caroline Dinenage MP, chair of the CMS committee, emphasized the need for more stringent measures. She commented, “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.”
Beyond the White Paper
The committee’s stance goes beyond the suggestions made in the gambling white paper, published in April. While the white paper introduced various regulatory improvements like affordability checks and stake limits, it faced criticism for its lack of comprehensive measures on advertising.
Despite voluntary efforts by Premier League clubs to withdraw gambling sponsorship from shirts by 2026, the CMS committee calls for a more proactive approach to advertising regulation.
The Urgent Need for Examination
The CMS committee’s report points to studies showing a high prevalence of gambling messages during matches, extending beyond shirt sponsorship. It underscores the urgent need to assess the impact of gambling advertising on the risk of harm, particularly to protect children.
The BGC’s Response
In response to the CMS committee’s report, the Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) lauded the rejection of a total ban on gambling adverts. The BGC agrees with the need for a sport sponsorship code to elevate standards and calls for its prompt publication.
As the debate continues, the focus remains on finding a balanced approach that protects vulnerable groups while acknowledging the financial realities of sporting bodies.