Goalkeeping legend Peter Shilton has hit out at gambling advertising in football, as he launched a campaign to stop betting firms sponsoring teams.
Shilton said “families’ lives are being destroyed by gambling” and shared how he was moved to speak out after hearing stories of gamblers committing suicide over their addictions.
His call comes as the Government conducts a major review of gambling law, which could see the most significant changes to the advertising and running of the industry since the introduction of the 2005 Gambling Act.
‘No moral justification’
Speaking to The Daily Mail, Shilton – who last year told of leading a double life when he was gambling – lamented the lack of outcry over gambling and its negative effects.
He said: “There’s no moral justification for gambling sponsorship but people are looking the other way because they want money, money, money. It’s time for that to stop. I think people in football are scared to speak out. There is a conspiracy of silence.”
He was adamant that there should be “no gambling advertising on shirts”.
Currently, over half of the teams in the top two tiers of English football have betting firm sponsors on their kit.
Recently, others working in football have also criticised the game’s readiness to promote gambling.
Dan Walker, BBC football presenter, called an invitation from Arsenal for fans to gamble on an upcoming game “a really bad look for football”.
He said: “I know gambling is big business but we are normalising something which is a problem for thousands of individuals and families. Sport is brilliant, enjoyable and fun without the need to bet on it.”
I just think this is a really bad look for football. I know gambling is big business but we are normalising something which is a problem for thousands of individuals and families. Sport is brilliant, enjoyable & fun without the need to bet on it. https://t.co/iPtjNyazSv
— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) January 23, 2021
And former Leicester and England striker Gary Lineker said that clubs “shouldn’t be drawing naïve youngsters into a world of gambling, that can lead to misery and desperation”.