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Football: Sponsorship

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 73904, tabled on 14 July 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to bring forward proposals to ban betting companies from being front of shirt football sponsors.

Answered on

21 July 2020

Gambling sponsorship of sports teams is already subject to a range of rules and safeguards. Like all gambling advertising, it must be socially responsible and must never be targeted at children or vulnerable people. The government has also made clear that sporting bodies and teams must consider their responsibilities to fans when entering commercial arrangements.

The Football Association has strict rules about the size and placement of sponsor logos on all players’ shirts, and prohibits any reference to gambling or gambling operators on shirts for teams where all players are under 18 years old. It has taken action where the logos of gambling sponsors have been found to breach these rules. The gambling industry code for socially responsible advertising also requires that operators’ logos must not appear on any commercial merchandising which is designed for children (for instance in children’s sizes). In August 2019 the code was amended to include a whistle to whistle ban on broadcast advertising around live sport.

The Government assessed the evidence on advertising in its Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures, the full response to which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-proposals-for-changes-to-gaming-machines-and-social-responsibility-measures. Since then, in March this year, the charity GambleAware has published the final report of a major piece of research into the effect of gambling marketing and advertising on children, young and vulnerable people. That study found that while there was some indication that exposure to advertising was associated with an openness to gamble in the future amongst children and young people aged 11-24 who did not currently gamble, there were other factors that correlated more closely with current gambling behaviour amongst those groups, including peer and parental gambling. It did not suggest a causal link between exposure to gambling advertising and problem gambling in later life.

The government is aware of recent restrictions introduced on gambling advertising in Spain and Italy and is continuing to monitor the effect of those restrictions.

We have committed to review the Gambling Act 2005, and will announce further details in due course.