MPs call for reduction in pitch-side gambling ads to protect children

Premier League and other sports bodies urged to do more to tackle the “bombardment of advertising branding at football and other sporting events”  

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee has called on the Premier League and other sports governing bodies to cut the volume of gambling adverts in stadiums.

The Select Committee’s report on gambling regulation also says the government should do more to limit minors’ exposure to gambling marketing and that there is “scope for further regulation” than what has been proposed in the white paper to overhaul Britain’s gambling laws.

The report also highlighted how the University of Bristol found that front-of-shirt gambling branding consisted of just 7% of all that was visible during 10 broadcast matches surveyed and that 7,000 gambling messages were shown during six matches surveyed during the opening weekend of this season.

MPs want the government to take more “precaution” in a bid to reduce children’s exposure to gambling ads and that there should be more messages inside sporting arenas promoting safer gambling.

Dame Caroline Dinenage MP, Culture Media and Sport chair, said: “While gambling regulation should not overly impinge on the freedom to enjoy what is a problem-free pastime for the majority, 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 government needs to go further than the proposals in the white paper and work with sports governing bodies on cutting the sheer volume of betting adverts people are being exposed to.”

However, the report noted that there should be a “distinct” approach to sponsorship for horseracing and greyhound racing given the two sports’ intrinsic ties to gambling.

In response, the industry’s trade body, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), said: “We welcome the publication of the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee report and its findings which reject proposals for a blanket ban on advertising, sports sponsorship and consumer promotions, which would harm our best-loved sports like horseracing and football, threaten jobs and drive customers to the growing unsafe, unregulated gambling black market online.

“The government has previously stated research did not establish a causal link between exposure to advertising and the development of problem gambling.

“Betting advertising and sponsorship must comply with strict guidelines and safer gambling messaging, which promotes safer gambling tools and signposts help to those concerned about their betting, is regularly and prominently displayed.”

A voluntary whistle-to-whistle ban has been in place for more than five years, meaning betting ads are not aired from five minutes before kick-off until five minutes after the match finishes. This applies to matches before the 9pm watershed and excludes live horseracing broadcasts.

On gambling advertising, the white paper on the Gambling Act 2005 review proposed no direct action but to support sport governing bodies to develop a gambling sponsorship code of conduct.

From the end of the 2025-26 season, Premier League clubs voluntarily decided to end front-of-shirt advertising sponsorship, but clubs will still be allowed gambling sleeve sponsors and for ads to be placed around stadiums.

A study conducted by four UK universities earlier this year found that gambling firms’ logos appeared on average 16 times per minute in the Premier League across 10 games in the 2022/23 season.

 

​EGR Intel

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