In a posting on its website, the Betting and Gaming Council has declared that sports sponsorship must go ‘hand in hand’ with promoting safer gambling.
Its complete statement reads as follows:
Supporting some of the UK’s most popular sports with millions of pounds in sponsorship funding must go “hand in hand” with promoting safer gambling, the Betting and Gaming Council has declared.
The call came as the country prepares for a sporting bonanza featuring top class horseracing, football, darts and cricket over the festive period.
BGC members provide racing with £350m in sponsorship, media rights and levy payments, while the English Football League and its clubs receive £40m a year from the regulated betting and gaming industry.
Darts and snooker benefit to the tune of £10m from betting operators, while rugby league receives a further £2.5m.
But while this financial support has proved vital during the Covid pandemic, the BGC is also highlighting the work its members also do to promote safer gambling by customers and sports stars.
This includes a £1m five-year safer gambling education programme, funded by EFL sponsor SkyBet and delivered by EPIC Risk Management.
West Ham Utd sponsors Betway rolled out a training scheme to every Premier League club they partner with delivering safer gambling and responsible marketing sessions for all employees, including players and coaches.
Kindred Group also produced a four-part ‘Know Your Limits’ series featuring the likes of Wayne Rooney, Carl Frampton and Paddy Brennan promoting responsible gambling.
Meanwhile, the £10m Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme, which is funded by the BGC and delivered by leading charities GamCare and YGAM, has programmes related to sport across the country including at Leicester City, Rochdale AFC and Birmingham City Football Club.
Earlier this year, the BGC introduced a code of conduct on the use of social media by football clubs. Under the new rules, calls to action or links to gambling websites are not allowed on organic tweets on the social media feeds of football clubs.
The whistle-to-whistle ban on TV betting commercials during live sport before 9pm has reduced the number of such ads seen by children by 97 per cent.
This is all in addition to the pledge by BGC members that 20% of all television and radio adverts will be safer gambling messages.
These are just some of the ways in which the betting and gaming industry backs up its financial support for sport with a commitment to promoting safer gambling.
Figures released by the Gambling Commission showing the rate of problem gambling falling from 0.6 per cent to 0.3 per cent in the year to September suggests these efforts are having an effect, but BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said the standards body was determined to go even further.
He said: “Christmas is an exciting time for sports fans across the country as we see a feast of sport from horse racing to the Premier League to the darts at Ally Pally. BGC members are proud to provide financial support to sport in a variety of ways, but it’s also important that this goes hand in hand with our work on promoting safer gambling. Around 30 million people in Britain – half the population – enjoy a flutter, and the vast majority do so safely. As we wait for the Government to publish its Gambling White Paper, I hope that promoting safer gambling continues to be an integral part of the betting and gaming industry’s commitment to supporting sport.”