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Football gambling documentary set to reignite sponsorship debate

A new Channel 4 documentary will be presented by politician Ruth Davidson and will focus on football and gambling advertising.

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Named ‘Ruth Davidson Tackles Gambling and Football’, the documentary will explore the growth of football betting and gambling advertising.

Scottish football fan Davidson will also discuss whether the UK Government is doing enough to tackle the gambling addiction some football fans face.

The film will continue the discussion of whether football clubs should allow gambling firms to sponsor them, something EFL Chairman Rick Parry sided with earlier this year.

He warned that the removal of gambling sponsorship will be financially damaging to smaller clubs.

Parry said: “There’s no evidence to suggest banning sponsorship will reduce the prevalence of problem gambling.”

Predictably, Davidson takes an alternative view on the relationship between football and gambling.

Davidson added: "As a lifelong fan that grew up in a football household, I've watched as our national game has become saturated by gambling logos. From leagues to broadcasts, shirts to stadiums, gambling firms have infiltrated every nook and cranny of the game, and use footy fans to push other products.

"I wanted to find out what potential harm this has caused and whether we need a radical rethink to wean football off its gambling addiction."

Of course, it’s unclear whether there’s a direct link between current levels of gambling sponsorship and gambling addiction. In Italy, for example, gambling advertising was banned in 2019 but betting volumes have soared since.

The UK Government has been reviewing gambling legislation this past year and with its review yet to be completed, the documentary, set to air later this year, could spark new life into the discussion.

 

 

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