A new study conducted in the United Kingdom has taken a look at the prevalence of gambling logos in soccer club programs. According to the study, at least 56.8% of the reviewed teams had a high presence of gambling logos in the children’s sections.
The study, conducted by Steve Sharman, Catia Alexandra Ferreira, and Philip Newall, focused on 44 Premier League and Championship soccer clubs and examined them for 18 months. The result is that 56.8% of them feature gambling signage, including shirt logos, in the children’s programs.
Gambling Logos Still Seen by Children in Soccer Clubs Programs
While clubs made conscious efforts to improve the ad exposure per program, from 2.3 to 1.3, the incidental exposure to gambling logos increased. In fact, gambling messages exceeded messages about safer gambling and alcohol marketing 13-fold. This comes at a time when at least 1.4 million people in Britain are experiencing some form of gambling-related harm, with another 1.5 million at risk.
It is the latest data that comes at a time when sports and gambling operators expect a widespread overhaul of the existing gambling laws, which will most likely affect how gambling logos appear on soccer club assets. The White Paper may seek to completely suspend gambling advertisement with soccer clubs, although sources close to BBC Sport said that it would be only Premier League teams that would not be able to partner up with gambling companies.
However, such a measure may be only half-baked some critics fear as it would not have the effect that lawmakers may want it to try to balance between business interests and responsible gambling.
Commenting on the findings, the paper’s authors said that lawmakers should consider that fans may be exposed to gambling through multiple channels of advertisements, outside of TV. These comments resonate with a recent call by UKGC CEO Andrew Rhodes for gambling companies to self-regulate. The authors of the study added:
Indirect and incidental exposure to gambling marketing remains high, which can be particularly challenging for those experiencing gambling-related harm. All forms of gambling marketing must be considered when making legislative changes.
Research on gambling ads in clubs children’s sections
The prevalence of such gambling ads in the kids’ section is not normal, the researchers cautioned and said that only a definitive ban on such partnerships would produce the desired effects.
While the prevalence of gambling ads can be proven easily through research, the causal link between gambling sponsorship and problem gambling is another matter altogether and it presents some serious challenges.
A Betting and Gaming Council spokesperson said that the regulated gambling industry is providing the country and various sports programs with substantial payments. The English Football League alone receives £40 million ($48 million). Of course, there are some positive developments in the industry as well. One of them is the voluntary whistle-to-whistle ban which reduced gambling commercials viewed by children by 97%. Another point of pride for policymakers is that the number of problem gamblers in the United Kingdom has dropped to 0.2% from the previously surveyed period when they were 0.4% of the population.