Gambling companies donating "offensive" amounts to addiction-related charities
Gambling companies standing for more than £ 30m in soccer jersey sponsorship deals have been charged with "offensive" donations to an industry-funded addiction charity, with one giving only £ 250.
The annual donor list for GambleAware, which is funded by online casinos and bookmakers, details the amounts donated by individual companies.
The data shows an increase in contributions from the largest companies - as promised in 2019 - but significantly smaller amounts than others, in particular operators who offer foreign companies access to the UK through the controversial 'white label' system.
W 88, based in the Philippines, sponsors Crystal Palace T-shirts through a Dorset Midnight Gaming-based white label affiliation which has donated £ 250 to fund UK stretched treatment services.
The sum is less than the amount GambleAware received from charities such as Hospices and the Red Cross who donate if they organize lotteries to raise funds.
The Isle of Man-based TGP Europe, which has donated £ 5,000, is another white label operator connecting to the UK for SBOTOP, Sportsbet.io and Fun 88, sponsored by Leeds United, Southampton and Newcastle United jerseys respectively.
Vivaro of Malta, which helps ManBetX and LoveBet sponsor Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burnley, gave £ 10,000. Asian BGE, license holder of Celtic's sponsor in the Philippines, Dafabet, gave £ 2,000.
Each transaction is worth over £ 5m a year, according to multiple reports. Neither of the companies requested a comment.
Sponsors are foreign brands that gain access to English and Scottish football through white label companies.
These companies are often based in territories like the Isle of Man or Malta, but have British gambling licenses, which allow them to rent their services to foreign companies, often from countries where betting advertising is illegal.
These brands can then advertise on soccer jerseys, usually to reach audiences in markets such as China.
James Grimes, whose organization Big Step urges soccer clubs to sever ties from gambling, said: "The amounts these companies have made donations to deal with the damage they have done which is offensive to millions of people who have been harmed by gambling in the UK, some of whom they will be fans of the clubs they sponsor.
this is further evidence that the industry should not be privileged to sponsor football clubs or decide how much they donate to fund research, education and treatment. ”
GambleAware is the industry's primary donation channel under the existing donation system, a voluntary system that stems from a long-standing gentleman's agreement between industry and government.
Companies must donate to gambling addiction services as a condition of licensing. They typically donate to GambleAware at least 0.1% of their annual revenue, although there is a list of other approved audiences.
NHS England's national director of mental health, Claire Murdoch, told the Guardian earlier this month that the system is leading to under-funding, leaving the NHS to pick up the pieces.
Murdoch, GambleAware and industry regulator, the Gambling Commission, have called instead for a mandatory levy, something the government has resisted.
Scottish National Party MP Ronnie Cowan said the modest sums paid by companies benefiting from lucrative football sponsorship deals reinforced the case.
"The gambling industry has reversed self-control and self-criticism over the years, trumpeting claims it funds to support gambling-related harm," he said.
“We need a statutory fee that raises significant amounts of money and is allocated independently of the industry. The industry responsible for the damages cannot be independently responsible for funding the education, rehabilitation and support that is increasingly needed. "
The four largest operators - Ladbrokes Entain owner William Hill, Paddy Power Owners, Flutter and Bet 365, have tried to prevent such calls by increasing their contribution, increasing this year's total industry contribution from £ 10 million to £ 19 million.