A group of UK football fans are calling on lawmakers to implement a complete ban on Premier League gambling sponsorships.
The effort is being led by a group of recovered gambling addicts called Football Supporters Against Gambling Adverts, and already has 45,000 signatures on a petition supporting its efforts. Their goal is to gather one million signatures that they can present to Parliament in the hopes of seeing the proposed ban turned into law.
Gambling sponsorships have been a huge issue in UK sport and will likely be addressed in the gambling reform white paper that is currently in limbo until a new Prime Minister is selected in the fall. The Premier League itself was set to take a vote on sponsorship earlier in the summer, but delayed their vote when the white paper release was delayed. (It’s worth noting that the current caretaker PM, Boris Johnson, is said to support the ban and would have instituted it if he had remained in office.)
Football Supporters Against Gambling Adverts say that the gambling industry’s involvement in football is an unnecessary evil that entices young people onto a dangerous path. In a statement reported on by Sky News, the group’s spokesperson commented on the dangers of gambling sponsorships saying, “Nowhere is gambling’s pernicious presence felt more than in football, which acts as the ‘hook’ that draws young, first-time gamblers in, setting them up for a lifetime of addiction.”
It’s believed that about half of the clubs in the Premier League support the gambling ban, but the industry is clearly waiting for the white paper release before committing one way or the other.