Ladbrokes owner urges ban on gambling firm shirt sponsors and advertising in sport

The owner of Scottish Professional Football League title sponsor Ladbrokes has called for a blanket ban on all gambling advertising in UK sport.

Ladbrokes owner GVC has called for an end to gambling advertising in UK sport. Picture: SNS Group
Ladbrokes owner GVC has called for an end to gambling advertising in UK sport. Picture: SNS Group

GVC Holdings, which also owns bookmaker Coral, wants to see an end to any and all sports-betting broadcast advertising, at any time of the day, during live and repeated sporting events, with the exception of horse racing.

GVC has unveiled proposals which would green-light adverts promoting responsible and safer gambling, but allowing just one advert per commercial break.

The move comes ahead of the upcoming “pre-watershed, whistle-to-whistle” advertising ban set to be introduced in time for the 2019/20 football season in August.

Marathonbet-sponsored Hibs take on Dafabet-sponsored Celtic in the Ladbrokes Premiership. Picture: SNS Group

GVC played a key role in introducing the new restrictions but believes the measures don’t go far enough, and is now calling on leading bookmakers to join together to help bring about a big change in the marketing of betting firms.

In addition, the firm is calling for a ban on shirt sponsorship and perimeter advertising, to allow fans to support their team without any visible incentives to bet. Celtic (Dafabet), Hibs (MarathonBet), Motherwell (BetPark) and Rangers (32Red) are the four top-flight Scottish clubs who carry a betting firm as their main sponsor.

GVC is also urging increased investment in Research, Education and Treatment (RET) and treatment centres, along with providing the free, safer gambling software dubbed “GamBan” to individuals

Company CEO Kenny Alexander said: “Whilst the vast majority of our customers enjoy our products responsibly, it is high time that the industry did more to protect its customers from potential harm.

“As the UK’s largest gambling company, and owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, we at GVC are doing exactly that.

“I call on our industry peers to help us bring about an end to broadcast advertising which promotes sports-betting in the UK no matter the time of day.

“Increasing investment in research, education and treatment ten-fold by 2022, funding treatment centres and using technology to intervene before a problem develops, alongside our existing behavioural analytics, brings to life our commitment to be the most trusted and enjoyable betting operator in the world.

“The industry should and can do more to protect the vulnerable, and today’s announcement demonstrates GVC’s commitment to delivering on that.”