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Premier League set to ban gambling sponsors

20 July 2022
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Premier League clubs are on the cusp of agreeing a voluntary ban on shirt sponsorship by betting companies, The Times newspaper reports.

The proposal is set to be discussed at a Premier League stakeholder's meeting next week and there is thought to be majority support.

Campaigners including CARE have urged an end to betting sponsors in football for many years, amid spiraling gambling related harms.

More than 400,000 people in Britain are thought to be locked in addiction, and many more are thought to be at risk.

The UK government had suggested that it would implement a statutory prohibition on betting companies appearing on football shirts but says it would prefer football authorities to act.

A crucial whitepaper promised by the government two years ago has been delayed for a fourth time due to Conservative party infighting and will be re-evaluated by the new Prime Minister.

CARE is pushing for a broad range of reforms to be introduced, including a statutory levy on betting companies to raise money for gambling addiction treatment and research.

Tim Cairns, Senior Policy Officer at CARE, which has spearheaded calls for reform of gambling laws across the UK, spoke out last week when the latest delay was announced:

“A further delay to the publication of the long-awaited white paper on gambling reform is inexcusable. The paper was reportedly ready to be signed off and was a culmination of many months of work and consultation with experts and campaigners. There is a democratic and a moral case for green lighting this proposal, and finally allowing parliamentarians to get to grips with it.

“Every day in the UK a person takes their own life because of gambling-related harm. Delaying reform will only cause more, untold grief. Given reports that key reforms, such as an industry levy, were to be dropped from the whitepaper, any new Conservative leader coming into office must ask whose side they are on. Will they fight to help the vulnerable? Or side with the gambling industry?

“Reform needs to be comprehensive. Curbs need to be placed on advertising, on the relationship between gambling and sport, and measures are needed to ensure children are kept safe. Given the cost to society of gambling-related harm, a meaningful statutory levy needs to be put in place. The industry should be forced to pay for the harm it creates, not the NHS and taxpayers.”

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While for some, gambling is just harmless fun, for a significant minority it causes genuine devastation. Our vision is to see laws passed that will help protect vulnerable problem gamblers.

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