Gambling adverts on television, online, and particularly within football will be looked back on the same way we now consider tobacco advertising, a columnist has said.
Speaking on Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine programme, Guardian writer Owen Jones said he thought betting companies should not be allowed to sponsor football shirts.
It follows the news that Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is expected to launch a call for evidence on reforming gambling legislation later this month, with gambling advertising and sponsorship thought to be a key aspect of the review.
Betway teddy bear
Asked if he thought such sponsorship and adverts should be banned, Jones said: “If you look in this country, there are 55,000 kids who are now addicted to gambling.
“There’s some terrible stories this weekend – a twelve-year-old who lost £20,000 in one night on online roulette. There was a case of a dad who shared this; his youngest son aged four named his teddy bear Betway.”
He added: “Football has this unique resonance, particularly amongst young people, it’s the national sport – and the reason online gambling companies target football is they know that”.
“If we want to take seriously the fact that 55,000 kids are addicted to gambling in this country … let alone people who are older than that, then this is one thing we can do.”
While Jones stopped short of saying gambling should be banned, he said the close ties between football and betting are “something we need to think very carefully about”.
He concluded: “We will look back one day in ten years and go: ‘I can’t believe we even allowed them to do this.'”