THE Church of Scotland has called for a ban on advertising gambling and pay-day loan companies in sport.
The “normalisation” of gambling has had a “damaging effect on the lives of thousands” across the country, a report from the Church’s society council said.
It has been published ahead of the Commonwealth Games and calls for a lasting legacy from the sporting events, particularly for deprived areas.
Glasgow 2014 has no such sponsors but Scottish Premiership side Hearts are sponsored by Wonga, while Rangers recently announced a new shirt sponsorship with online casino 32Red.
Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, convener of the church and society council, said: “In producing this report ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, we commend the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee for valuing equality and encourage it in fulfilling its aim for equality for all, and also urge that a lasting legacy from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is seen, particularly in deprived areas.
“We also urge the Scottish and UK Governments and sporting bodies to implement measures designed to reduce hazardous and harmful gambling and to impose a ban on advertising gambling in the context of sports.
“The normalisation of gambling has been proven to have a damaging effect on the lives of thousands across Scotland.
“Some may see our stance as radical but we believe it is necessary to improve the quality of life for people living in this country.”
The Church report, titled Striving Together: Celebrating Competitiveness in Sport, urges the Scottish and UK Governments and sporting bodies to impose a ban on advertising pay-day loan companies that charge “exorbitant rates”.
It also encourages the expansion of chaplaincy support in professional sport.
The report follows high profile comments from the Archbishop of Canterbury last year when he said he wanted to put pay-day lenders out of business by using the Church of England to build up Britain’s network of credit unions.
Rev Justin Welby called on people to support alternatives to pay-day loans which he said could plunge families into a crippling spiral of debt.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Like the Church of Scotland, we commend the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee for valuing equality and encourage it in fulfilling its aim for equality for all.
“We believe this is something all sports should aspire to do including through the advertising sponsors it chooses to work with.”