Premier League betting sponsors “ignoring” obligations to gambling addicts

Premier League betting sponsors “ignoring” obligations to gambling addicts

Thursday, September 6, 2018 Posted by News Team
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NHS chief says foreign operators fail to contribute to the costs of problem gambling treatment

The chief executive of the National Health Service (NHS) in England has claimed that foreign betting operators sponsoring Premier League teams are failing to fulfil their obligation to fund treatment for gambling addicts. 

Speaking at the NHS Expo in Manchester yesterday, Simon Stevens said that as many as eight foreign gambling operators whose branding appears on English clubs’ shirts were failing to pay towards the costs of treating problem gamblers. 

UK operators are expected to contribute to a £10m pot, which is used to fund GambleAware, the charity dedicated to minimising gambling related harm. By failing to contribute, Stevens said, these operators were putting additional pressure on the NHS.

“There is an increasing link between problem gambling and stress, depression and other mental health problems,” Stevens said, according to The Guardian. “Doctors report that two-thirds of problem gamblers get worse without help, and the NHS does offer specialist treatment.

“But reports that foreign gambling companies are failing to play their part in co-funding help for addicts are deeply concerning. Taxpayers and the NHS should not be left to pick up the pieces. The health of the nation is everyone’s responsibility.”

He urged the Premier League to take a more active role in ensuring the overseas operators contributed to the problem gambling fund. In the 2018-19 season, nine of the league’s 20 clubs are have a gambling operator as their main shirt sponsor, while almost all have an official betting and gaming partner.

Stevens’ comments are the latest criticism of gambling companies’ sponsorship of high-profile football teams in the UK. The Labour Party has already announced that it will look to ban such deals in a bid to curb childrens’ exposure to gambling brands.

The UK government has also set out a condition that any deal to sell Wembley Stadium will come with the condition that no sponsorship agreements be struck with gambling companies. American billionaire Shahid Khan, owner of Premier League club Fulham FC, is currently negotiating a £600m deal, with the English Football Association set to make a decision on his bid by the end of the year.

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