Ban on gambling adverts during football matches praised by Sheffield campaigner

A Sheffield campaigner has praised gambling companies today, after they agreed a voluntary ban on betting adverts appearing during football matches.

The Remote Gambling Association (RMG), which includes companies such as Bet 365, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power, have agreed on a ‘whistle to whistle’ ban, meaning no adverts will be shown during a broadcast of a football match.

It comes after political pressure and criticism of the betting industry by campaigners. 90 minutes of betting adverts were shown during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, which campaigners feared would normalise betting, particularly for young people.

One campaigner from Sheffield, who’s dad was jailed for crimes related to gambling, said he was pleased with the developments that took place today.

Adam Bradfield’s father, David, was sent to prison in 2014 for stealing £53,000 from his employer by re-invoicing his wages.

He had been gambling obsessively for 30 years but the family only found out about his conviction when they saw a letter from his solicitor saying he would not be coming home and his story appeared in the Daily Mail.

This led Adam to start a campaign in 2014 calling for more regulation of the gambling industry. He has received the support of former PM David Cameron, the NHS and Deputy Leader of Labour Tom Watson.

He said: “There has been a 600% rise in gambling adverts since 2005 and the rise really is insidious. Young people are being targeted and gambling is becoming normalised to them.

“We are very pleased the industry has seen sense and this voluntary reduction should be enshrined in legislation soon. We want to see this ban extend to t-shirts and sponsorships to some degree in future.”

The plans made by the RGA need to be ratified by the Group for Responsible Gambling before they come into force, but this should be a formality and the ban could come into place early next year.