The gambling logo appears 700 times in a soccer game, says document Ch4

The gambling logo appears 700 times in a soccer game, says document Ch4

05.06.2021 0 By Andrzej Sikorski

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

In her first presentation as a TV presenter, Davidson describes the gambling industry's association with football as "the parasite that is taking over the host" on Channel 4, aired Monday night.

In the debate, the intervention of an influential life peer in the debate comes with the government during 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 who measured the visibility of gambling during match broadcasts.

According to an analysis using a methodology developed by Dr. Robin Ireland at the University of Glasgow, there were up to 716 gambling "exposures" in a match between Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers, both of which have gambling sponsors - equal to more than six logos per minute.

While the industry has agreed to voluntarily ban whistle-to-whistle TV advertising during afternoon matches, Irish research 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 usually 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 […] have these customers 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 £ 100 million - plus about 716m spent with broadcasters - which football authorities and betting groups say makes any sponsorship restrictions undesirable.

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

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

According to the Sporting Chance Clinic, which helps athletes with addictions, 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 problem gambling, and concluded that there was no evidence that club or league sponsorship by betting operators influenced participation in bookmakers.

"A recent report by the Gambling Commission has also suggested that problem and risk gambling rates have declined in 2020, however, one problem gambler is one too many, so we will continue our work to further improve standards and promote safer gambling."