House of Lords Inquiry Calls For Ban on Gambling Sponsorship

A House of Lords Select Committee has made 66 recommendations and calls for a ban on gambling sponsorship in sport.

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Lords Call For Ban on Gambling Sponsorship © Pixabay.

The House of Lords Select Committee set up to explore the social and economic impact of the gambling industry has made 66 recommendations in its report. The Committee state that there should be an end to gambling companies sponsoring sporting teams and players and limits should be imposed on stakes depending on the addictiveness of the activity.

The 194-page report, which is available on the Lords Select Committee website, covers a wide range of suggestions including banning the restricting of viewing live sporting events that bookmakers stream. Currently, many operators require you to sign-in to watch events, making it inaccessible to non-account holders. They also propose to prohibit the requirement that customers have a funded account to view streamed events.

Gambling advertising at sporting events is highlighted in the report with the Committee recommending that no gambling brands should be allowed to be worn by players on shirts and sleeves. They also would like to see a total ban on gambling advertisements inside and outside of the stadia and in matchday programmes. Recognising the financial impact these recommendations would have on the Premier League and other sports, the Committee believes 2023 is a reasonable deadline to allow other sponsors to be found.

The report also states that the Football Association should stop its controversial practice of allowing betting sites to show FA Cup games via their platforms. A view shared by the current government which in January urged the FA to reconsider its decision to sell FA Cup broadcast rights via a third party to gambling websites. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport said “things have moved on” since the contract was signed.

The Select Committee stated that an independent adjudication service should be set up for disputes between customers and operators. Citing the Banking Ombudsman Service, they propose a similar model for the gambling industry. They believe the Gambling Commission should make it a mandatory condition of every licensee that they abide by any rulings of this new Gambling Ombudsman Service.

The House of Lords report rejected calls for the responsibility of gambling authority to be moved from Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to the Department of Health and Social Care, stating there would be no benefit but potential disadvantages in transferring. They did, however, say that the much-heralded review of the 2005 Gambling Act is accelerated, stating:

The election is now six months behind us, but nothing has happened, and no dates have been set. We expect DCMS, as the owner of the policy for gambling, to take this forward with some urgency House of Lords, Statement

In respect of gambling-related hard, the report wants the UK Gambling Commission to impose a levy on all operators. The mandatory charge will be used to pay for research, education and treatment of problem gamblers. They also call on a new testing system to be introduced that will rank them based on their addictiveness and appeal to children. Higher rated games will be subjected to stake restrictions.

Other suggestions the reports include are; Increasing the minimum age for the National Lottery from 16 to 18, mandating the minimum age for operators VIP schemes to be over 25 and affordability checks becoming a condition of operator licences. They also recommend that information on customers who fail these checks would be shared with all operators.

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