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BGC: Sports sponsorships and safer gambling promotion must go “hand in hand”

As the UK is preparing for a sporting boom with horseracing, football, darts and cricket over the festive period, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has said sports betting sponsorships ought to go “hand in hand” with promoting safer gambling.

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Members of the BGC offer racing £350m ($468.9m) in sponsorship, media rights and levy payments, while the English Football League (EFL) and its clubs receive £40m every year from the regulated betting and gaming industry.

Snooker and darts get around £10m from betting operators and the rugby league receives a further £2.5m.

This financial support has been very important during the Covid pandemic, the BGC is keen to emphasise, but the body has also reiterated the work its members have been doing to promote safer gambling; including a £1m five-year safer gambling education programme.

Critics suggest that safer gambling messaging can be a smokescreen, with slogans such as Take Time To Think not guaranteed to have any effect on problem gambling.

But other examples highlighted by the BGC include a training scheme being rolled out by Betway in partnership with West Ham United, to deliver safer gambling and responsible marketing sessions to all employees, players and coaches.

Kindred Group has produced and four-part ‘Know Your Limits’ series that equally promotes responsible gambling; the series features Wayne Rooney, Carl Frampton and Paddy Brennan.

Additionally, the £10m Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme (funded by the BGC and delivered by GamCare and YGAM) has sport-related programmes across the country.

This year, the BGC introduced a code of conduct on the use of social media by football clubs. On top of that, there was the pledge by BGC members that 20% of all television and radio adverts will be safer gambling messages.

Data released by the Gambling Commission shows a fall from 0.6% to 0.3% in the rate of problem gambling in the year to September.

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