Betting firms could be banned from sponsoring football shirts

Betting firms could be banned from sponsoring football shirts in bid to crack down on problem gambling under plans being unveiled this week

  • A wide-ranging review of legislation governing gambling industry due this week
  • Among the plans being mooted are a ban on sponsorship of football club shirts
  • Could be fresh restrictions on maximum stakes and check on gamblers’ losses  

Betting firms could be banned from sponsoring football shirts under a major shake-up set to be unveiled by the government this week.

The wide-ranging review of legislation governing the industry is expected to float a bar on using gambling logos on kits.

It could also include proposals for maximum stakes online, and checks on whether gamblers can afford their losses. 

New games to be tested for addictiveness before they are launched, while wronged consumers could be given the opportunity to complain to a consumer ombudsman.

There has also been widespread speculation that the age threshold for playing the National Lottery will be raised from 16 to 18.  

More than half of clubs in the Premier League and Championship are sponsored by gambling firms, including West Ham (pictured)

A wide-ranging review of legislation governing the gambling industry is set to be launched this week

Bookmakers are also still able to show television adverts during the build-up and post-match analysis on live televised sport

Campaigners have long been concerned about the impact of gambling advertising in football on children and vulnerable adults. 

More than half of clubs in the Premier League and Championship are sponsored by gambling firms.

Bookmakers are also still able to show television adverts during the build-up and post-match analysis on live televised sport.

How the law could change

  • Tough new stake limits on online ‘slots’
  • Caps on how much a customer is allowed to lose in a month
  • Tests on the addictiveness of products before they are released
  • A ban on sports sponsorship, which could include no gambling firms’ logos on football shirts
  • New curbs on online marketing and an end to bonuses which entice gamblers
  • New powers introduced to tackle the black market
  • A consumer ombudsman to help wronged customers
  • Changes to the minimum age for fruit machines and penny pushers

The review will also consider concerns about the wider marketing and advertising of gambling products.

Many changes that are being considered have been raised by the Mail’s Stop the Gambling Predators campaign.

Culture minister Nigel Huddleston told a meeting of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) recently that he wanted to listen to a variety of voices about the overhaul.

‘The call for evidence will be a genuine appeal for anyone with an interest in the gambling industry to submit their views,’ he said. 

‘I’m very keen for BGC members to contribute.

‘We want to make sure that the regulation is right for the digital age and we also want to get the right balance between the fun that people can get from gambling and the obligation to protect vulnerable people.’

A spokesman for the BGC said: ‘As the standards body for the regulated industry, we have called for the government’s review to be wide-ranging and to provide an important opportunity to drive further change. 

‘It is important that the review is evidence-led and strikes the right balance between protecting the vulnerable, whilst not spoiling the enjoyment of the estimated 30 million people who enjoy a bet at least once a month – the vast majority of whom do so perfectly safely – and driving them into the arms of the unregulated online black market.’ 

The shake-up would roll back vast swathes of Tony Blair’s 2005 Gambling Act, which has been blamed for laying the groundwork for the epidemic of gambling addiction. 

Around 400,000 people – including 55,000 children – are addicted to betting and there are two gambling-related suicides every day.

The long-awaited review is due to be launched with an eight-week call for evidence. 

The Government aims to then produce a white paper with proposals for a full public consultation by the summer.

It follows a series of high profile cases of suicide and crime in gambling. 

Earlier this year, engineer Chris Bruney, 25, killed himself hours after Playtech plied him with £400 in bonuses. 

The issue sparked the creation of a 150-strong cross-party lobby of MPs and Lords and is backed by the Prime Minister.

The industry regulator, the Gambling Commission, has already banned betting credit cards and is undergoing a review into gambling-like elements in children’s video games.  

The plans have led to a battle between campaigners and the industry. Bosses are, for example, concerned that checks on affordability, which could come into play if a gambler loses £100 in a month, will hit their profits. 

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport declined to comment.

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