LONDON: An end to the gambling sponsorship of sport has been urged by a British House of Lords committee’s study of the social and economic impact of the industry.
Notably, the panel proposed a ban on Premier League football clubs placing betting firm adverts on their shirts. Currently half of Premier clubs and 17 of the 24 second tier (Championship) clubs are sponsored by bookmakers.
A 192-page report from the cross-party committee suggests that Championship shirt-ads be phased out and that other sports should end shirt betting sponsorship by 2023.
Campaigners believe betting has been normalised within football and can lead to addiction.
The committee’s recommendations also state: “There should be no gambling advertising in or near any sports grounds or sports venues, including sports programmes.”
But the report says restrictions on shirt sponsorship and other advertising “should not take effect for clubs below the Premier League before 2023. A similar flexibility should be allowed in the case of other sports”.
It added: “These restrictions should not apply to horseracing or greyhound racing.”
The report said removing betting sponsorship entirely would “not unduly harm Premier League clubs but it would very probably have a serious effect on smaller clubs.
“We therefore think they should be given time, perhaps three years, to adapt to the new situation. They would not be allowed in that time to enter into new sponsorship contracts with gambling companies, but any existing contracts could continue until they terminate, and clubs would have time to seek alternative sources of sponsorship.”
The English Football League (EFL) says the gambling sector contributes £40m a season to the league and its clubs and with the financial problems of the coronavirus pandemic, this “significant” contribution is “as important now as it has ever been”.