The Football Association Denies GambleAware Access to Wembley

The Football Association have turned down a request from GambleAware to feature Wembley, home of the national football team, in a video to promote responsible gambling. The charity wanted to use the iconic stadium as part of its Bet Regret campaign.

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Football Association Snubs GambleAware © Pixabay.

Online media outlet i Sport, in their reporting, said the governing body wanted to distance itself from any gambling activity, regardless of the aims or the message of the campaign.

It is believed that the Football Association had full knowledge of both the content and the positive messages that GambleAware had planned but insisted on sticking to its ‘zero relationships’ approach to gambling products and companies. The FA felt it would be considered hypocritical to become involved with GambleAware.

Marc Etches, GambleAware CEO, confirmed the Football Association’s stance admitting that they had approached the Football Association, but the request was denied. Etches added that he felt the campaign would provoke debate, adding:

Despite the fact that the Bet Regret campaign was about trying to ensure people thought carefully about their gambling, particularly if they’re bored, drunk or chasing losses. I would have preferred to have more of a conversation about it. Marc Etches, GambleAware CEO

English football’s governing body has been the target of anti-gambling campaigners wrath due to a ‘worse than grubby’ streaming deal that is in place with bookmakers.

The deal, signed with sports media company IMG in 2017, enables selected bookmakers to stream the prestigious FA Cup action to their customers. Campaigners highlighted the issue that during certain FA cub fixtures, a live stream from a gambling company was the only way for fans not at the venue to watch the action. Igniting fears that they are potentially exposing youngsters to sports betting.

GambleAware itself has been the subject of controversy with the controversial, due to the way it is funded. Described on its website, “GambleAware has a framework agreement with the Gambling Commission to deliver the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms”, and continues, “based on voluntary donations from the gambling industry”. It is the nature of these voluntary contributions that don’t sit easily with campaigners and even some members of parliament. The GambleAware CEO has admitted in the past that some academics have refused funding from GambleAware due to the source of the charity’s funding.

An All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm chaired by Carolyn Harris MP was scathing in some of the comments aimed at GambleAware. In their interim report, released in November, it stated that the Group was “deeply concerned” about the way GambleAware operate and the effectiveness of the charity. Also calling for the commissioning of research responsibilities to be taken from GambleAware.

The report also calls for a levy of 1% to be introduced that will fund harm prevention projects. The minimum tax will be 1%, but the Group are calling for the introduction of a “smart levy” which will see those in gambling sectors that cause the most harm paying more. Marc Etches later wrote to the Group highlighting the work the charity does and asked for more information regarding the Group’s comments, calling them “vague”. The full Gambling Related Hard report is expected soon.

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