The Forst Green Rovers football club has called for a ban on gambling sponsorship agreements.
The professional football club has announced its support for a gambling sponsorship ban as the motion is currently being debated by the UK Government as part of its review of the Gambling Act 2005.
A ban has been described as a “likely outcome” of the review, along with several other changes to the way the gambling industry operates. While numerous charities have voiced their support for a ban, English Football League Chairman Rick Parry has opposed it, expressing concern over club funding.
As part of its call for a ban, the Forest Green Rovers, who have refused to take on gambling sponsorships, has joined The Big Step national campaign as part of the Gambling With Lives charity. The campaign calls for an end to gambling sponsorship bans and the advertising of gambling across sports.
Dale Vince, the owner of the Forest Green Rovers, said in a statement: “It’s like gambling has taken over football. If you watch a game on TV you are inundated with ads – gambling logos are on almost half of Premier League shirts, and constantly flash up on pitch side boards. For me, the fun already stopped. This is an abuse of football and of football fans.”
James Grimes, Founder of The Big Step, said of the Forest Green Rovers joining the charity: “We’re delighted to have the support of Forest Green Rovers. Our outdated gambling laws need to change, especially with the exponential rise of online gambling.
“Sponsorship of sporting events by tobacco companies is banned and we believe gambling should be the same. To be truly effective, shirt sponsorship, stadium promotions and other branding should not be visible during matches.”
The news comes after a survey carried out by operator Entain suggested that a majority of gamblers in the United Kingdom want more freedom over their gambling, rather than tighter restrictions and rules.
Online Gambling Activity Increased In March 2021, UKGC Reveals
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published new data highlighting how the changing Covid-19 lockdown measures have impacted online gambling across the United Kingdom.
The Commission’s new data covers the period between March 2020 and March 2021, and it found an increase in online market activity, which the Commission attributes to the Cheltenham Festival. According to the data, there was a 14% increase in active accounts in February, a 12% increase in the number of bets placed, and a 4% increase in gross gambling yield (GGY).
What’s more, slots GGY increased by 15% to almost £203 million between February and March, and the Commission found that the number of bets in the same period increased by 12% to almost 6.2 billion, and the number of active players increased by 10% to more than 3.2 million.
The Commission also found that the number of online slots sessions last more than an hour increased by 8% to 2.7 million while the average session length decreased to 20.8 million, with an estimated 8% of all slots sessions lasting more than an hour.
The regulatory body also published consumer research data for the period of January and March 2021, highlighting that among adults that have gambled in the last 12 months, the claimed levels of gambling activity have increased in the past quarter when compared to Q4 2020.
In addition, 18% of people who had gambled in the last 12 months have said their gambling has increased since the pandemic began, an increase from 13% in the previous three-month period.
In response to the data, the UK Gambling Commission was once again called for extra operator vigilance, even with the easing of lockdown restrictions. In its report, the Commission warned that people will still be spending time at home and will still likely feel isolated and vulnerable, as well as concerned about their financial circumstances.
Like with previous Covid-19 data, the Commission has highlighted that consumers, particularly highly engaged gamblers, will be more likely to spend more time and money gambling while other people are likely to gamble for the first time.
The UK Gambling Commission has reiterated its Covid-19 guidance for operators. The strengthened guidance was first issued in May 2020 and urged operators to take an interest in data that shows how customers play and how much time and money they spend when gambling.
The guidance also encourages operators to interact directly with customers when triggers are reached, prohibits operators from exploiting the Covid-19 lockdown for marketing purposes, and requires operators to take care when on-boarding new customers and making decisions over affordability checks.
UK Gambling Tax Revenue Falls, HMRC Announces
Finally, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has revealed that gambling tax revenue for the 2020/21 financial year has fallen below expectations as a result of Covid-19 lockdowns across the United Kingdom.
As reported by SBCNews, tax receipts for the period covering April 2020 to March 2021 totalled £2.83 billion, a decrease of 6% when compared to the previous April 2019 to March 2020 financial year.
The HMRC reported that land-based Gaming Duties (GD) fell a whopping 62% to £79 million, and Machine Gaming Duties (MGC) decreased by 44% to £282 million. However, the HMRC noted a 25% increase in tax from Remote Gaming Duties (RGD) to £885 million from £179 million, making up 31% of total industry revenue.
Finally, HMRC reported Lottery Duty as the highest tax generator within the gambling industry, seeing a 1% year-on-year increase to £980 million from £12 million.
In a statement, HMRC said: “Increases in RGD against previous financial years are potentially due to gamblers utilising online services in lockdown more so than they would if betting shops, bingo halls and other gambling premises were open as normal.”