UK standards body Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has called for sports sponsorship to go “hand in hand” with promoting safer gambling,
The call came ahead of the country's festive period featuring top class horseracing, football, darts and cricket. BGC members provide racing with £350 million in sponsorship, media rights and levy payments, while the English Football League and its clubs receive £40 million a year from the regulated betting and gaming industry. Darts and snooker benefit to the tune of £10 million from betting operators, while rugby league receives a further £2.5 million.
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 £1 million five-year safer gambling education program, funded by EFL sponsor SkyBet and delivered by EPIC Risk Management.
Also, 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.
As for Kindred Group, the operator produced a four-part ‘Know Your Limits’ series featuring the likes of Wayne Rooney, Carl Frampton and Paddy Brennan promoting responsible gambling.
In addition, the £10 million Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme, which is funded by the BGC and delivered by leading charities GamCare and YGAM, has programs related to sport across the country including at Leicester City, Rochdale AFC and Birmingham City Football Club.
In 2021, 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 9 pm has reduced the number of such ads seen by children by 97%. This is all in addition to the pledge by BGC members that 20% of all television and radio adverts will be safer gambling messages.
Figures released by the UK Gambling Commission showing the rate of problem gambling falling from 0.6% to 0.3% in the year to September suggests these efforts are having an effect, but BGC CEO Michael Dugher said the standards body was determined to go even further.
“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," Dugher said in a statement. “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."