Criticism mounts after claims UK gambling plans “watered down”

YGAM has called for the introduction of a statutory levy for licensees.
YGAM has called for the introduction of a statutory levy for licensees.

Former footballer Peter Shilton has blasted the suggestion that there will be no ban on gambling sponsorship.

UK.- The UK government has yet to publish its gambling white paper, but already the criticism is coming in fast after rumours broke that it plans to water down restrictions. The former footballer Peter Shilton has criticised the prime minister Boris Johnson for apparently dropping a proposal to ban gambling sponsorship on football shirts.

Suggests that the government will “water down” restrictions on gambling sponsorship in sport were made in the Sunday Times last month, which said the government had balked at going in too hard out of fear that it may hurt the economy. However, the government has yet to publish its long-delayed proposals. The white paper is expected to finally be published later in June.

England legend Shilton, who struggled with gambling addiction, wrote to Johnson in September, hand delivering a letter to Downing Street. He called for the government to clamp down on gambling sponsorship in sport but claims he didn’t receive a reply. Former England team mate Gary Lineker has also added his support to Shilton’s campaigning. 

He told the Mirror: “The fact we didn’t get any sort of reply is so disappointing. Gary Lineker is behind us, he’s supported us and you’ve got two former footballers having a say and you’d have thought it at least deserved a reply.

“We put the letter in last September and we feel aggrieved that we haven’t even had a reply. It’s been postponed so much, the white paper was originally due in December and you wonder why it’s been delayed.”

He added: “Certainly for kids seeing betting advertising on shirts, it does glamourise gambling. There needs to be a lot of work done on advertising as well but banning shirt sponsorship would be a big statement. The industry needs stronger regulation.

“That’s always been our biggest thing. I’d be very disappointed if that didn’t happen. But there also needs to be a look at all things in the betting industry and protecting addicts and families of addicts. It seems to be dragging on now and people are wondering what’s happening now. You hear stories and rumours and if money is the issue then it would be very poor because this is a bigger issue than a short term monetary gain with what’s gone on.”

In the last season, nine out of 20 top-flight English clubs had gambling sponsors on their shirts. Most recently, Crystal Palace announced it was changing from a betting sponsor to car company Cinch. Currently, any betting firm that sponsors a Premier League club must sign a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to rules on no gambling advertising on under-18s kits.

Ex-Tory leader Iain Duncan-Smith has promised that he will “go to war” with the government if it does finally water down its planned overhaul of gambling regulation. It’s been rumoured that the government will also leave out a much-discussed levy on gambling operators to fund treatment and prevention.

Gambling Commission seeks to guarantee National Lottery handover to Allwyn

Concerns are mounting that legal challenges against the Gambling Commission’s decision to award the next UK National Lottery licence to Allwyn could lead to the lottery being suspended for a time. The regulator is seeking to overturn a legal constraint preventing it from entering an enabling agreement with the Czech operator to begin the transfer process.

The Gambling Commission has chosen Allwyn as its preferred bidder to run the National lottery from February 1, 2024. It would be the first time that anyone other than Camelot has run the lottery, which began in 1994, but Camelot has mounted a legal challenge to the Gambling Commission’s decision, apparently arguing that it shouldn’t be allowed to lose.

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