The UK gambling industry’s problem gambling charitable organization has struck its first deal with an English Premier League football team to warn fans of the potential downsides of gambling.
On Friday, the industry-funded GambleAware charity announced a deal with London’s Crystal Palace FC to cooperate on the production of “advertisements and promotion materials to raise awareness of the risks of gambling.”
The problem gambling messages will appear both on the perimeter of the Selhurst Park pitch and on screens throughout the stadium, ensuring their visibility for both in-stadium spectators and viewers watching at home on television. The first messages will appear during this Saturday’s match against Brighton & Hove Albion and continue for the final two matches of the current EPL season.
Crystal Palace has a shirt sponsorship with UK-licensed online betting operator ManBetX, one of nine EPL clubs that has shirt deals with gambling operators. Crystal Palace is the first EPL squad to sign on for the GambleAware initiative and the charity hopes other teams will join the campaign, which aims to boost awareness of the advice and support available via the BeGambleAware.org site.
GambleAware CEO Marc Etches called the Crystal Palace pact “an important first step towards a deeper and broader action plan to address the ever-closer relationship between gambling and football.” Etches praised the club for “setting a great example for other clubs,” noting that even the EPL clubs that don’t have gambling shirt deals still benefit from the increase in value of television deals thanks to the “ever-growing gambling advertising around live sport.”
Crystal Palace FC chairman Steve Parish said the club recognized “our responsibility of helping promote safe and responsible gambling.” ManBetX director Jon Collins added that, as the club’s shirt sponsor, “we have an added degree of responsibility to support those who offer help and advice to ensure people gamble responsibly, both within football and the wider community.”
GambleAware is currently prepping a £7m public awareness campaign on recognizing the warning signs of problem gambling behavior that is expected to launch in August. Last month, the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling announced revisions to advertising codes to require gambling promos to include references to the GambleAware website throughout TV adverts.