Christian groups have urged believers to support a ban on gambling advertisements in sport.
The groups have joined the Stop Betting Ads campaign, which calls on the Government to address the unhealthy relationship between the gambling industry and sports, as part of its review of the 2005 Gambling Act.
A review of the laws that regulate gambling, including how betting companies are allowed to advertise, is currently under way. It marks the first time since 2005 that the law has been reviewed and provides campaigners with a chance to reset the rules and protect the most vulnerable.
The campaign warns that more than 70 per cent of Premier League and Championship football clubs have a commercial relationship with a betting company either through shirt sponsorship or endorsement.
It also points out that the involvement of gambling advertising isn’t just limited to elite sport, as it is plays a role in grassroots sport as well.
‘Advertising codes have created carve-outs for sports that allow betting companies to reach young people, and while children’s replica kits can’t carry a gambling sponsor, the parent’s kits can,’ the campaign states.
‘Astonishingly, shirt sponsorship isn’t classed as advertising, so we’re asking the Government to stop all advertising, sponsorship and preferred commercial relationships from gambling companies in sport.’
The campaign stresses that the Churches have ‘a role to speak out on moral issues that affect our society and by stopping gambling advertising in sport we can help protect vulnerable people and stop the normalisation of gambling in sport’.
It highlights the severe issue of gambling addiction in society, pointing out that ‘nearly one in five people with a gambling problem have considered suicide and this group is around eight times more likely to have attempted to take their own life than the general population’.
The campaign is urging people of all faiths to ‘add your voice’ to the government’s review, which closes on 31st March 2021.
For more information on the campaign and to respond to the review, see: http://stopbettingads.com
Picture: West Ham are one of eight Premier League teams sponsored by betting firms.