GambleAware launches new responsible gambling initiative

GambleAware has launched a new online initiative aimed at encouraging debate on the relationship between football and betting.

Football player kicking a ball

The video questions the current relationship between betting and football. © Pexels.

The campaign was rolled out this week on social media under the title #CanWeHaveOurBallBack.

This initative comes just days after the charity published research showing the excessive sums gambling companies are spending on marketing, the majority of which is directed online. Operators have spent £1.5bn on advertising in the last three years, 80% of which funded online ads.

On the back of those findings, GambleAware has launched its own online advert. Directed by Scott Lyon and Will Thacker, the video portrays a powerful visual message of the negative impact beting is having on the sport of football.

Speaking about the initiative, Marc Etches, CEO of GambleAware, said:

We recognise that gambling-related sponsorship and advertising are important sources of funding for both professional football and grass-roots community participation in the sport. However, there is growing public concern about the nature and extent of the relationship between football and betting. In particular, whether the extent of betting-related marketing around football is contributing to the normalisation of gambling for children. Marc Etches, GambleAware CEO

While the ad is sure to fire futher debate, there is already much discussion about the proliferation of gambling adverts, especially related to football. However, Etches highlighed the fact that GambleAware are not statinoffering their own solution to the problem at this time:

We are not advocating any specific solutions, but we do want to invite anyone interested to take part in the conversation, thereby helping us to raise awareness of gambling as a public health issue, and to reduce the harms that arise. You can help to do this simply by sharing the film across your social media channels and use the #CanWeHaveOurBallBack. Marc Etches, GambleAware CEO

Leading bookmakers are already in discussion to self-regulate by considering whether to ban showing any gambling adverts before the watershed.

That would be a welcome move for most, but many will want advertising restrictions to go further. Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party, has been particularly vocal on the issue. He has vowed that his party would impose a ban on gambling adverts during all live sporting events.

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