An MP has said that gambling operators should be banned from advertising in football matchday programmes.
A report from The Independent has revealed that six out of 10 matchday programmes in the Premier League from the last weekend contained advertisements from bookmakers or casinos. Programmes for games at Tottenham, Everton, Leicester, Wolves and Crystal Palace all included adverts but the programme for Bournemouth contained the most ads.
Swansea East Labour MP Carolyn Harris has criticised the programmes since they’re often targeted at minors and asked an Urgent Question regarding the programmes in the House of Commons this week, urging the government to ban said adverts.
She said: “It is grooming, they are trying to normalise gambling and it is grooming young people into believing that participation in a gambling activity associated with football is normal. And it isn’t normal. We have had many, many years of successful tournaments when gambling wasn’t a thing and they weren’t invading the space of these youngsters.”
Harris continued: “It is like subliminal learning, they are tricking them to think there is nothing wrong with taking a bet on football. Where did all this come from? I want to see them banned 100 per cent.”
“We will never know how many people have got into gambling by seeing an advert in a programme. We will never know how many children will go home tonight and think that is utterly normal. It’s a public health issue and it needs recognising as one like smoking and alcohol. We need to look at what this public health issue and one of the factors will be open advertising of gambling.”
The news comes days after a Betway gambling advert was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for featuring professional footballer Declan Rice who is under 25. According to ASA rules, gambling ads cannot feature people under the age of 25.
The video, which was published on Betway’s YouTube channel in October, featured West Ham captain Mark Noble play a car clamp prank on Rice’s Range Rover in London while reading lines to an undercover actor posing as a traffic warden.
The video reportedly ended by displaying the Betway logo and a GambleAware warning. It also features footballers in West Ham shirts featuring Betway branding.
Meanwhile, a study from last December by researchers from the Universities of East London, Anglia Ruskin and Warwick. The researchers analysed 44 programmes from the Premier League and Championship and found that they featured an average of 2.3 gambling ads, four times more than that for alcohol.
The study also found that most programmes contained around 38 “accidental exposures” which include images of players wearing sponsored shirts. For example, one programme featured a Spot The Difference exercise in which one of the differences was a missing 888 Casino logo.