Sports sponsorship must go “hand in hand” with promoting safer gambling, says BGC

The Betting and Gaming Council has declared that sports sponsorship and promoting safer gambling must be of equal importance. The call followed a sporting bonanza featuring top class horseracing, football, darts and cricket throughout December 2021.

BGC members provide racing with £350m in sponsorship, media rights and levy payments, while the English Football League and its clubs receive £40m a year from the regulated betting and gaming industry. Darts and snooker benefit to the tune of £10m from betting operators, while rugby league receives a further £2.5m.

While this financial support has proved vital during the Covid pandemic, the BGC aims to highlight the work its members need to do to promote safer gambling by customers and sports stars. This includes a £1m five-year safer gambling education programme, funded by EFL sponsor SkyBet and delivered by EPIC Risk Management. West Ham Utd sponsors Betway rolled out a training scheme to every Premier League club they partner with delivering safer gambling and responsible marketing sessions for all employees, including players and coaches. Kindred Group also produced a four-part ‘Know Your Limits’ series featuring the likes of Wayne Rooney, Carl Frampton and Paddy Brennan promoting responsible gambling.

Meanwhile, the £10m Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme, which is funded by the BGC and delivered by leading charities GamCare and YGAM, has programmes related to sport across the country, including Leicester City, Rochdale AFC and Birmingham City Football Club.

Earlier this year, the BGC introduced a code of conduct on the use of social media by football clubs. Under the new rules, calls to action or links to gambling websites are not allowed on organic tweets on the social media feeds of football clubs. In addition, BGC members have pledged that 20% of all television and radio adverts will be safer gambling messages.

Michael Dugher, BGC chief executive, said: “Christmas is an exciting time for sports fans across the country as we see a feast of sport from horse racing to the Premier League to the darts at Ally Pally.

“BGC members are proud to provide financial support to sport in a variety of ways, but it’s also important that this goes hand in hand with our work on promoting safer gambling.

“Around 30 million people in Britain – half the population – enjoy a flutter, and the vast majority do so safely.

“As we wait for the Government to publish its Gambling White Paper, I hope that promoting safer gambling continues to be an integral part of the betting and gaming industry’s commitment to supporting sport.”