Forest Green Rovers back campaign to end gambling ads

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Forest Green Rovers is backing a national campaign to end all gambling advertising and sponsorship in football.

The “Big Step” campaign is part of the charity Gambling With Lives – established to support those bereaved by gambling-related harm. It is calling for the end to sponsorship, promotion, and advertising of all gambling in football.

The campaign was founded to raise awareness of football’s growing dependence on gambling. Through campaigning, events and partnerships with football clubs delivering community education and awareness programmes, the Big Step aims to tackle this growing issue.

James Grimes, Founder of the Big Step, said: “We’re delighted to have the support of Forest Green Rovers. This is a vital moment to secure meaningful gambling reform in the UK. As a recovering gambling addict and massive football fan, I’m passionate about ensuring the game is part of the solution to gambling harms.

“Our outdated gambling laws need to change, especially with the exponential rise of online gambling. Sponsorship of sporting events by tobacco companies is banned and we believe gambling should be the same. To be truly effective, shirt sponsorship, stadium promotions and other branding should not be visible during matches.”

Dale Vince OBE, Chairman of Forest Green Rovers, said: “It’s like gambling has taken over football.

“If you watch a game on TV you are inundated with ads – gambling logos are on almost half of Premier League shirts, and constantly flash up on pitch side boards. For me, the fun already stopped. This is an abuse of football and of football fans.”

Forest Green Rovers – who refuse to take on gambling sponsorship, has pledged its support to the campaign. They will also work closely with Gambling with Lives and the Big Step to put an end to gambling advertising in sport, during a pivotal time for gambling reform in the UK.

There are thought to be 55 different gambling sponsorship or partnership deals with 44 football clubs in the top two divisions in England. Young people make up 25% of the audience of Premier League football and are exposed to gambling through shirt and league sponsorship, pitch side advertising, TV broadcast advertising, social media and endorsements by footballers.

Logos plastered across every fixture and ground are ruining the game for many struggling with addiction and risk drawing in more. There are 55,000 11-16 year old “problem gamblers” and 340,000 adult gambling addicts in the UK according to research.

The Big Step announced a partnership with Billericay Town FC in 2020 to highlight the dangers of gambling. Working with groups such as All Bets Are Off, Gambling with Lives and Gamban they aim to raise awareness of the ‘gamblification’ of football and seek to signpost people directly or indirectly affected by gambling addiction to the support they need.


New Study Shows Most People in UK Consider Gambling as a Social Activity

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According to new national research from Ladbrokes and Coral owner Entain, there is an increase in number of people in the UK who believe they should be free to choose how to spend their own leisure time and money.

More than nine in ten British adults (94%) who bet at least once a month believe they should be free to decide for themselves how to spend their spare time and money. This is an increase from 79% in December 2020 before the latest lockdown began in January 2021.

The survey of 2000 Britons – which comes as changes to betting laws are considered by the government through the Gambling Act review – reinforces that betting is a social activity that the vast majority of people enjoy safely and responsibly.

Among its key findings, the study reveals that:

  • More than of half respondents (55%) regard betting and gaming as social activities which they enjoy with friends, and 25% say they have made good friends through betting and gaming.
  • 78% of respondents place a bet at least once a week and typically spend around roughly half what they might spend each week in bars, pubs and restaurants.
  • Over 90% of people who enjoy betting see themselves as sports fans and 83% like to bet on the outcomes.
  • Around half of those who enjoy betting are in favour of the industry supporting grass roots and lower league clubs.
  • Close to two-thirds (58%) of those who enjoy betting see themselves as savers and 84% have savings accounts. Only around four in ten (38%) say they actively enjoy spending money.

BGC Response to Government Announcement on Football Index

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The UK government is going to set up an independent review into the Football Index collapse. The plan for the review is welcomed by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).

A spokesperson for the Betting and Gaming Council said: “We strongly welcome this independent review of the regulation of Football Index, up to the point where its operator’s licence was suspended in March.

“Following the suspension of BetIndex Ltd’s operating licence by the Gambling Commission last month, we immediately suspended their membership of the BGC.

“We have been concerned about reports that the Gambling Commission was made aware of issues surrounding Football Index’s business model as early as the start of 2020, something the BGC was not made aware of at the time.

“The top priority remains consumer welfare and we hope that the inquiry leads to vital lessons being learned for the future.”


Camelot to Enforce 18+ Age Restriction on UK National Lottery Products from April 22

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The Camelot Group has announced that it will enforce an 18+ age restriction on all its UK National Lottery products from April 22, six months ahead of the UK Government’s October deadline to introduce the measure.

From that date, anyone under the age of 18 will no longer be able to purchase any of the national lottery operator’s products, whether that be online or in a retail environment.

The UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced last December that it would be raising the minimum age to play the lottery from 16 to 18 years following the release of its “Review of the Gambling Act 2005 Terms of Reference and Call for Evidence” policy paper.

Originally, online lottery sales to under-18s were to be banned first from April, with a deadline of implementation across retail by October 2021, but now Camelot has acted to enforce the age limit across all verticals sooner than required.

A Camelot spokesperson said: “From 22 April 2021, players must be 18 or over to play National Lottery games online, in-store and on the app. This is in line with the government’s decision to raise the legal minimum age to play The National Lottery, which we fully support.

“Encouraging healthy play is at the heart of everything we do. Remember, you can set limits for the amount you deposit and spend each week, moderate your Instant Win Games play limit or even take a break from playing.”


SIS and Sky Bet agree Watch and Bet racing deal

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SIS (Sports Information Services), the leading multi-channel supplier of 24/7 live betting products, has secured a deal with Sky Betting and Gaming to deliver premium racing content to the online operator.

Sky Bet customers will have the opportunity to access live streams of exclusive horse and greyhound racing through SIS’s Watch and Bet model, which enables bettors to view first-class racing content without the need to place a bet prior to the event.

SIS’s Live Racing content will allow Sky Bet to expand their racing offer through a mix of live international horse racing from the likes of Latin America, Mauritius, the United Arab Emirates and across Europe, as well as UK and Irish greyhound racing.

Paul Witten, Commercial Director at SIS, said: “We’re very excited to have agreed this deal with one of the UK’s most successful online operators and look forward to being able to provide Sky Bet’s customers with an engaging betting experience through our premium horse and greyhound racing.

“The Watch and Bet model is becoming increasingly important in today’s marketplace for online sportsbooks looking to drive increased engagement with their customers.”



GambleAware Calls for Mandatory Levy in Gambling Act Review Consultation

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GambleAware has published its submission of Call for Evidence to the Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in response to the Gambling Act review.

The submission outlines ongoing issues in the gambling sector found by GambleAware, with a particular focus on the prevention of gambling harms and research to inform policy.

It comes in response to the UK government’s December 2020 review of the 2005 Gambling Act. As part of the review, the DCMS launched a call for new evidence to investigate issues such as spend limits and how gambling affects young adults.

The findings are intended to inform changes to the 2005 Gambling Act.

Most prominently, GambleAware continued its advocacy for a mandatory levy to fund research, education and treatment (RET) related to gambling and gambling-related harm.

Currently, British gambling law requires licensed British operators to donate a portion of funds to responsible gambling initiatives, but there is no minimum on how much should be donated.

GambleAware reported that in the last twelve months, it received £15.6m in voluntary donations, a rise from £11m the previous year. In June 2020 the Betting and Gaming Council pledged £100m to GambleAware on behalf of the 4 largest gambling operators in Britain: Bet365, GVC Holdings, Flutter Entertainment and William Hill.

“The voluntary nature of the current arrangements results inevitably in uncertainty of funding year to year and to significant variations in cash flow within the year,” the submission reads.

“This unpredictable funding model represents a significant challenge given that a key function of GambleAware as a commissioning body is to provide assurance to funded services about recurrent income streams so that expert clinical teams can be established and sustained to provide treatment and support for those who need help.”


Betting Shops are Now Open in England and Wales

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Betting shops in England and Wales reopened yesterday for the first time in 2021 amid the latest easing of Covid-19 restrictions in each country.

Various measures will remain in place in betting shops, with the number of customers allowed inside at any one time dependent on the size of the shop, with that number capped at eight. There will also be a limit on the time that customers can stay in the shop, while there will be no chairs, no live sports pictures and a maximum of two gaming machines in operation. Furthermore, customers will be limited to a maximum of two visits per day, with shops forced to close at 8 pm.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I’m sure it will be a huge relief for those business owners who have been closed for so long, and for everyone else it’s a chance to get back to doing some of the things we love and have missed.

“I urge everyone to continue to behave responsibly and remember ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ to suppress Covid as we push on with our vaccination programme.”


UK Ministers to Launch Investigation into Collapse of Football Index

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The UK Ministers are planning to launch an investigation into the collapse of the football player trading exchange company Football Index. Legislators are deeply concerned by the collapse of the operator, after users lost over £100 million following its crash into insolvency.

“This case further reinforces the need for our comprehensive review of gambling laws,” a government source told.

“This independent investigation into Football Index will feed into that work and if we need to make changes to regulation to protect people, we will.”

After making the decision to cut dividends on players from 14p to 3p, the Jersey-based company suffered a player and investor exodus, with some customers losing tens of thousands, and many scrambling to sell their shares and leave the site, prompting a crash.

The firm’s operating licence was subsequently suspended by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), whilst standards body the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) also suspended its membership.


Sisal Enters Race for Fourth UK National Lottery Licence

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Italian gambling operator Sisal, which runs the country’s most popular lottery, has joined the race for the next UK National Lottery licence. Sisal’s bid is being backed by the investment firm CVC Capital Partners.

Sisal is one of Italy’s largest gambling operators. It runs both land-based gaming and betting establishments and online facilities. The company’s products include poker, slots games, wagering and bingo, among others. As mentioned above, it also runs one of its home country’s largest and most popular lotteries, SuperEnalotto.


BtoBet Signs Strategic Partnership with Small Screen Casinos

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BtoBet has signed a strategic partnership with Small Screen Casinos.

As per the deal, BtoBet will provide the UK-based operator with its cutting-edge sportsbook platform for Small Screen Casinos’ online channels across multiple jurisdictions, namely the UK, Ireland and Ghana.

“BtoBet has an accomplished record in providing flexible and scalable sportsbetting solutions in diverse market requirements. I am positive that this partnership will deliver engaging and enjoyable sports betting experiences for all our players across the entire breadth of our brand’s presence in different markets,” Taj Ratta, Co-Founder of Small Screen Casinos, said.

“We look forward to helping meet Small Screen Casinos’ target to grow in various jurisdictions through the sports vertical. BtoBet’s high-performance sports betting technology will be key to Small Screen Casinos as they seek to deliver an optimal player-centric betting experience. This agreement underlines BtoBet’s ability to configure its technology to meet the needs of any operator and regulated market,” Tsachi Maimon, CEO of Aspire Global, said.