Peers support ban on betting companies from sponsoring soccer jerseys

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The ban on sponsorship of football shirts by gambling companies has been supported by more than 150 peers, who say it would have limited financial impact on clubs.

Newly formed multi-stakeholder group Peers for Gambling Reform (PGR) said a ban on gaming logos on football shirts and other direct sponsorship would cost the English Football League just 2.5% in revenue lost – and would have no impact on the Premier League. clubs.

Combined with other reforms, including caps on stakes, limits on game speeds and a mandatory levy, the group says the changes could instead lead to higher net taxes for the treasury and boost employment in freeing up spending in other sectors of the economy.

The findings are contained in a major new report for the PGR which analyzes the financial and economic impact of a series of reforms recommended by a House of Lords inquiry into problem gambling that afflicts 280,000 Britons.

The inquiry, led by former BBC chairman Lord Grade, recommended wagering limits for online games, affordability checks so that no player spends more money than they do. in a, a tax to fund research, education and treatment and a ban on direct sports sponsorship by gaming operators.

His analysis found that the English Football League could lose £ 26million or 2.5% of its annual revenue due to a sponsorship ban. He said the Premier League would have no problem replacing gambling companies given the global reach of club jerseys and the money they have earned from television rights.

A ban on sponsorship of football shirts is being considered by the government as part of its review of the industry.

While the peer review found that the gaming industry’s profits would be reduced from £ 696 million to £ 974million through the reforms, this would be more than offset by the net benefits due to the additional jobs and income in others. sectors.

“We estimate that the reforms could create 20,000 to 30,000 jobs and increase total employee incomes (ie wages and salaries) from 276 to 399 million pounds,” the report said.

“This positive effect occurs because the gaming industry employs fewer people and pays them less per unit of spend than any of the four industries where spending is diverted.

“We also note that employment in the gambling industry is probably concentrated in land-based activities – croupiers and casino croupiers, LBO staff, etc. – while the revenue declines that we model are exclusively online.

“Therefore, the losses of jobs and wages in the gambling sector could be smaller than what we model and the net impact of the reforms on employment could be greater.”

The group said the changes would not only increase tax revenues between £ 68 million and £ 87million, but generate £ 130million for education, treatment and research through a mandatory levy on the industry.

The case for reform is overwhelming

By Lord Foster of Bath – Chairman of Peers for Gambling Reform

The arguments for reforming gambling, especially online, are overwhelming.

Over 2 million people are affected by gambling harms, over 60,000 children are problem gamblers, and on average there is one gambling suicide every day.

Yet the main legislation controlling gambling was written before the appearance of the first iPhone, so it is hardly suited to cope with 24/7 high-speed online gambling without betting or prize limits, bombardment of gambling advertisements, or even the use of drones to gain a game advantage. Government review is therefore welcome.

The recommendations for change, made by a committee of Lords, are championed by more than 150 peers who make up Peers for Gambling Reform. Key reforms include tighter controls on whether customers can afford to play at the level they choose, limits on sports advertising and sponsorship, and increased controls on internet gambling.

New research they commissioned shows that the proposed reforms would increase income for the Exchequer, create up to 30,000 new jobs, result in substantial savings for the NHS and ensure that those in need of treatment against gambling-related harm can receive it. .

While there will be better protection against the most harmful parts of the gaming industry, its benefits appear likely to outweigh the financial costs associated with the proposed reforms. It may mean, however, that the salary of Bet 365 boss Denise Coates falls short of the £ 421million she earned last year.

The changes are urgent. When the last major review of the game took place in 1999, it was 8 years before new legislation was enacted. We can’t wait that long this time.

Many of the proposed changes, such as a mandatory tax on gambling operators to fund education and research processing, affordability checks, and additional limits on uploads, prices and game speed, could be introduced right now.

With one in eight Britons – or seven million – at risk for compulsive gambling, these reforms are essential and now is the time to act.


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