The owners of Ladbrokes and Coral — two of Britain’s largest betting brands — have expressed their backing for a complete ban on sports betting advertising in the UK.
GVC Holdings PLC are ready to back ‘an end to all UK sports-betting broadcast advertising, at any time of the day, on live and repeated sporting events’.
In a statement, GVC called for four major changes to the industry, including a scrapping of all betting company branding on football shirts, and have vowed to voluntarily impose such sanctions on themselves in the hope that other gambling companies will follow suit.
End To Football Shirt Sponsorship
Last summer it was revealed nearly 60% of football clubs in England’s top two divisions — and 17 of 24 in the Championship — had betting companies as their shirt sponsors.
GVC, who sponsor the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership, also want to see an increased investment in Research, Education and Treatment (RET) to 1% of UK gross gambling revenue by 2022 as part of their Changing For The Bettor campaign. The current rate is 0.1% but GVC voluntarily contribute double that at 0.2%.
The company — the largest betting firm in the UK who spend £45million a year on sports advertising in Britain, according to the Financial Times — aim to boost funding for treatment centres tackling problem gambling, while also introducing safer gambling software.
The call comes as the government come under fire from opposition politicians for not backing a mandatory levy on betting companies to aid funding for addiction treatment.
Sports minister Mims Davies recently said in a speech that the existing voluntary levy “does work”, contradicting the chair of the Gambling Commission just minutes before.
This is odd.— Rob Davies (@ByRobDavies) April 25, 2019
Gambling Commission chair Bill Noyes just gave a speech calling for mandatory levy on gambling firms, to fund addiction treatment, research etc.
A minute later, sports minister Mims Davies stands up to say the voluntary system works.
Govt ignoring regulator?
'Tackle Problem Gambling Hard'
GVC’s CEO Kenny Alexander has already been successful in introducing a ‘whistle-to-whistle’ ban on betting advertising around sporting events, with horse racing exempt given its reliance on funding from the gambling industry.
That ban will come into effect in August 2019 but Mr Alexander has called for more to be done to tackle problem gambling.
“It is high time that the industry did more to protect its customers from potential harm,” Mr Alexander said.
“I call on our industry peers to help us bring about an end to broadcast advertising which promotes sports-betting in the UK no matter the time of day.
“Increasing investment in research, education and treatment ten-fold by 2022, funding treatment centres and using technology to intervene before a problem develops, alongside our existing behavioural analytics, brings to life our commitment to be the most trusted and enjoyable betting operator in the world.”
“The industry should and can do more to protect the vulnerable, and today’s announcement demonstrates GVC’s commitment to delivering on that.”