The return of live televised Premier League football is fuelling a sharp rise in online gambling, according to new research.
It comes as fans have expressed concerns over the sport’s relationship with the betting industry, with a third of supporters admitting they are put off buying their team’s shirt if it has a betting sponsor emblazoned across it.
The Bank of Ireland’s analysis of debit-card expenditure found a 23 per cent year-on-year increase on bets during the first two weeks of September, which happened to coincide with the return of the Premier League.
Barry Grant, of Problem Gambling Ireland, said the increase was worrying.
“Many people turned to gambling as a way to relieve boredom or attempt to make extra money, since Covid restrictions started,” he told The Times.
“When sports were off, we were getting more calls from people who had switched to online poker, slots or other casino gambling. Many of the people who contacted us since March only gambled recreationally previously, but lost control.”
The concerns over the rise in online gambling since the resumption of the Premier League also come as two-thirds of football fans believe there is too much gambling advertising in the sport.
Forty-seven per cent believe gambling companies should be banned from sponsoring football teams, with 44 per cent believing any form of gambling sponsorship of football should end, a Survation poll of football fans, commissioned by the Coalition Against Gambling Ads, has found.
Of the 44 top teams in English football, 26 have a gambling company logo emblazoned across their chest. However, the poll indicates that many fans are growing tired and becoming disillusioned with the betting industry monopolising shirt sponsorship deals. Just over a third of fans would refuse to buy a shirt with a gambling sponsor on it, the Survation poll found.
Matt Zarb-Cousin, Director of Clean Up Gambling, said: “The government would have the backing of football fans if it decided to move against gambling ads and clubs would benefit from an increase in shirt sales.”
Picture: A fan bets on a game. (scyther5).