UK MPs have called on the Premier League and other sports governing bodies to reduce the amount of gambling adverts visible in stadiums.
Thursday’s report from the culture, media and sport (CMS) committee states the decrease in visible gambling promotion would help to “minimise children’s exposure to gambling advertising”.
MPs have also recommended there should be a push to dedicate more space to safer gambling promotion.
However, the report did highlight that a different perspective should be taken with horse and greyhound racing. This is due to their intrinsic links with gambling.
Dame Caroline Dinenage MP, chair of the CMS committee, stated: “More should be done to shield both children and people who have experienced problem gambling from what often seems like a bombardment of advertising branding at football and other sporting events.”
CMS committee wants to go further than white paper’s suggestions
The white paper, published in April, proposed a number of ways in which gambling regulation in the UK could improve. These included affordability checks, stake limits and the creation of an ombudsman.
However, the white paper received criticism for its lack of measures on how to tackle advertising.
Despite Premier League clubs voluntarily withdrawing gambling sponsorship from shirts from 2026, the CMS committee believes they must do more.
While it welcomes the Premier League clubs’ decision, the CMS committee’s report called for a “more precautionary approach” to advertising than the one detailed in the white paper.
It points to a recent study that highlighted the high number of gambling messages visible during matches aside from shirt sponsorship.
The report stated the “urgent need” to examine the effects of gambling advertising on the risk of harm. The CMS committee feels this is particularly important to protect children from exposure to gambling.
“The government needs to go further than the proposals in the white paper and work with sports governing bodies on cutting the sheer volume of betting adverts people are being exposed to,” Dinenage added.
BGC responds to CMS Committee’s report
The Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) published its response to the report in the wake of its release. It praised the rejection of a blanket ban on gambling adverts that some had called for.
The BGC also agreed with the CMS committee’s call for the publication of a code on sports sponsorship, saying: “We welcome the publication of the CMS committee report and its findings which reject proposals for a blanket ban on advertising which would harm our best-loved sports like horseracing and football.
“BGC agree with the committee that the Sport Sponsorship Code, which will further drive up standards, should be published without delay. The sporting bodies have, frankly, been dragging their feet.”
Industry self-regulation “completely failing”
A September study that investigated Premier League advertising found that self-regulation was “completely failing”.
Academics from Bristol University’s business school assessed TV, radio and social media coverage over four days between 11-14 August.
The study revealed 92% of 391 content marketing ads from gambling brands breached regulations as they were not clearly identifiable.
The team found a total of 10,999 gambling messages across TV, radio and social media channels over the four days. Within this were 6,966 gambling messages recorded during the six live match broadcasts on Sky Sports and TNT Sports.
Researchers also found that less than a quarter (20.6%) included gambling harm reduction messages and only 18.7% featured age warnings.
Co-lead researcher Dr Raffaello Rossi declared: “Self-regulation of the gambling industry is completely failing. The gambling industry’s primary goal is profit, not public welfare.”