An anti-gambling campaigner and chaplain for sport has shared concerns about ‘ugly, cruel and deadly’ betting logos in football literature targeted at children.
Mgr. Vladimir ‘Vlad’ Felzmann, founder of sports charity JP2F4S, has joined anti-betting organisations in condemning the influence of gambling adverts.
A study of 44 Premier League and Championship teams revealed that more than half of dedicated children’s sections in club programmes contains some form of gambling marketing, such as shirt sponsors.
“Sport, at its best, is beautiful and life enhancing,” Mgr. Vlad told the Universe. “When taken over by advertisers to promote gambling, it becomes more than ugly. (It’s) cruel and even deadly.”
Gambling messages were thirteen times more common than marketing of other products such as alcohol, and messages about safer gambling, leading to concerns that betting is being normalised at a young age.
A ban on gambling logos appearing on football strips has been mooted by the government as part of a wider reigning in of gambling laws due to be announced this month. Mgr. Vlad warned of the destructive power of gambling.
“Over the fifty plus years (of being) a priest, I have met so many families destroyed by those addicted to gambling,” he said.
“If the government is trying to lower national obesity levels by controlling food content, and has done its best to start eliminating smoking, it ought to do its best to reduce gambling.”
James Grimes from The Big Step, an organisation that campaigns to end gambling advertising and sponsorship in football, called for ‘an end to all gambling advertising in football’.
“Gambling sponsors are gambling adverts, and having so many in a kids’ section of a programme is not normal and not safe. Children should be able to follow their club without seeing any,” he told the BBC.
“An end to all gambling advertising in football would significantly reduce the amount of influential nudges to gamble that kids have to endure on a daily basis.”
Whitehall officials have recently distanced themselves from the idea of a ban on logos, and another measure to enact a statutory levy on gambling companies.
A recent YouGov survey suggested that 1,400,000 people in Britain are being harmed by gambling, with a further 1,500,000 at risk of being harmed, according to Christian charity CARE.
Mgr. Vlad appealed to the government to distance young people from gambling.
“Why allow gambling to drag into its thrall the young? Long term, it makes no sense. But with the Government ever think ‘long term’? I hope it will,” he said.
Picture: Wikimedia commons-Miguel Almiron of Newcastle Utd, who have been sponsored by Online Sportsbook & Casino Fun88