The gambling logo appears 700 times in a soccer game, document C44 says

The gambling logo appears 700 times in a soccer game, document C44 says

06.06.2021 0 By Andrzej Sikorski

The gambling logo can appear more than 700 times in a single soccer game, according to a documentary in which Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson calls for a "radical rethink" of the relationship between sport and betting.

In her first appearance as a TV presenter, Davidson describes the gambling industry's relationship with football as a "parasite taking over the host" on Channel 4, which airs Monday night.

The intervention of an influential peer in the debate takes place with the government in a review of gambling laws that will include an analysis of sponsorship deals.

Davidson, an avid footballer and Dunfermline Athletic fan, spoke to ex-addicts, clubs, activists and academics, including one he measured the visibility of gambling during match broadcasts.

According to an analysis using a methodology developed by Dr. Robin Ireland at the University of Glasgo in the match between Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers, there were 700 "exposures" to gambling, both of which have sponsors for gambling - equal to more than six logos per minute.

While the industry has agreed to voluntarily ban whistle-to-whistle TV advertising during afternoon matches, research in Ireland has shown that their branding is still continually visible, especially on pitch boards.

Davidson also expresses concerns about "cross-selling" whereby gambling companies are inviting football fans to try out other products, such as casino games, which are typically associated with higher levels of addiction than sports betting.

A data analyst who has worked for gambling companies and spoke anonymously to Channel 4 said: “Real money is when you can […] get these customers to bet on the casino as well. In sports, you can win if you are well informed or know how to bet, but in games you always lose in the long run. "

He said gambling companies are using algorithms to identify customers who may be tempted to make more bets or try other products using controversial incentives such as free bets and bonuses.

"If you see someone spending a lot, you'll want to make sure they do it on a regular basis," he said.

Davidson also interviewed John Whittingdale MP, vice minister overseeing gambling review in the Digital Culture, Media and Sports Division (DCMS).

Whittingdale admitted that online gambling has sparked new public health concerns that should "overcome" any fears of an impact on the £ 3bn of annual betting fee income if industry profits are constrained by stricter regulations.

But Davidson was not convinced that it was possible to limit advertising, and the minister cites a lack of evidence linking this to addiction

The appointment of Whittingdale in the DCMS has raised concerns among reform activists, due to earlier comments that appeared to belittle the dangers of FOBT digital roulette machines, which the government later called the "social plague."

The documentary, Hazard's Football Addiction, shows how deeply gambling is ingrained in the game and among those who watch it.

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He cites the gambling industry's annual contribution to the football clubs' cash register of over £ 32 million - plus about 200m spent with broadcasters - which football authorities and betting groups say makes any sponsorship restrictions undesirable.

But Tranmere Rovers chairman and former soccer union boss Mark Palios told Davidson that the club had successfully weaned off gambling sponsorship revenues.

The documentary also explores the addiction gambling experienced by footballers including former Tottenham and England defender Stephen Caulker.

According to the Sporting Chance Clinic, which helps addicted athletes, gambling has overtaken drugs and alcohol as the most common addictions among professionals seeking treatment.

A spokesman for Betting & Gaming Council said: "A recent study by University of Liverpool Professor Ian McHale looked at the link between football sponsorship, betting participation and the gambling problem and concluded that there was no evidence that sponsorship of clubs or leagues by plant operators influenced participation in bets.

"A recent Gambling Commission report also suggested problem and risk gambling stakes in 814 gambling, but one problem gambler is one too many, so we will continue our work to further improve standards and promote safer gambling."