Gambling in sport: government reviews betting laws

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Eight Premier League clubs have sports betting companies as jersey sponsors

The sport’s relationship with gambling will be closely examined when the government reveals the scope of its review of the betting law on Tuesday.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden wants the law to be adapted to the “digital age”.

This in-depth review will examine how betting is promoted in soccer and sports, from jersey sponsorship to television and online advertising.

Three quarters of Premier League teams have sponsors or betting partners.

This figure rises to 87% in the Championship.

Activists and alumni Tottenham and QPR defender Steven Caulker, who has recovered from a gambling addiction, told BBC Sport that betting is normalized in football.

The gaming industry claims it provides much-needed funds for the sport, while the Premier League and English Football League claim their clubs are complying with current regulations.

The government will gather evidence over the next 16 weeks before the review closes on March 31, 2021.

There are 340,000 problem gamblers in Britain, according to the industry regulator, the Gambling Commission.

“The industry has moved at breakneck speed,” said Dowden.

“This comprehensive review will ensure that we are addressing problem gambling in all its forms to protect children and vulnerable people. It will also help those who like to place a bet to do so safely. “

The Big Step, a charity that tackles football’s relationship with gambling, calls for a ban on sports betting advertising, a position that was echoed by a House report of the Lords in July.

Big Step founder and former gambling addict James Grimes praised the criticism but warned that “this must not be laundering.”

He added: “The review should be preventative and protect the millions of impressionable young football fans who are bombarded with advertising bets on the shirts, around the field, through league sponsorship and during television broadcasts.

“The government should not use this time to procrastinate and delay, as the sad reality is that during the months of this review, thousands of children will see thousands of gambling ads while watching the sport they are watching. they like.

“It’s heartbreaking to know that some of these young football freaks will become addicted to the game, like everyone on The Big Step team, myself included.

“The government is appealing for evidence. Well, the evidence has been overwhelming for some time. But we do it because we are also the proofs. ”

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