• Social media awareness initiative from GambleAware highlights the close relationship between betting and football 
  • New analysis shows 80% of marketing spend by gambling companies is now online 

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is lending her support to a social media initiative launching today that seeks to raise awareness and encourage discussion about the relationship between football and betting. GambleAware’s #CanWeHaveOurBallBack is designed to generate conversation and prompt reflection about the impact of betting on football and ask the question whether betting is taking away the nations’ love of football.  

The launch of the national conversation comes off the back of recent financial analysis by GambleAware and gambling industry specialists Regulus Partners which shows that 80% of marketing spend by gambling companies is now online.  

This surge in online spending coincides with growing concern about the nature and extent of gambling-related marketing and whether it has led to the normalisation of gambling for children. Figures released last week by the Gambling Commission show that that 450,000 children spend their own money on gambling, and that 55,000 children are problem gamblers.  

Rosie Cooper MP, comments: 
“This is an important initiative which brings much needed attention to a growing issue in our community. Football is a game which is enjoyed by people of all ages, but without a frank discussion about the recent spike in gambling-related marketing, we’re in danger of forgetting the reasons people fell in love with the sport in the first place. I hope this initiative encourages local fans to reconsider their relationship with betting and football, and remember that ultimately football is about the games, rather than winning bets.”  

Marc Etches, GambleAware’s Chief Executive said:
“We recognise that gambling-related sponsorship and advertising are important sources of funding for both professional football and grass-roots community participation in the sport. However, there is growing public concern about the nature and extent of the relationship between football and betting. In particular, whether the extent of betting-related marketing around football is contributing to the normalisation of gambling for children.   

“This film-led initiative is intended to appeal to anyone who loves football. We hope it will encourage them to reflect on why they love the game, and whether the current relationship between football and betting is undermining what it means to be an authentic fan.  

“We are not advocating any specific solutions, but we do want to invite anyone interested to take part in the conversation, thereby helping us to raise awareness of gambling as a public health issue, and to reduce the harms that arise. You can help to do this simply by sharing the film across your social media channels and use the #CanWeHaveOurBallBack.”  

The #CanWeHaveOurBallBack online video is directed by BAFTA nominee Scott Lyon, and can be viewed here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8lXRAeHYDg&feature=youtu.be. 

This is not the public health campaign announced by ministers as part of the recent gambling policy review. It is a separate initiative, but complementary to, the Safer Gambling Campaign which GambleAware was invited to deliver, and will be launched later this year. 

  • Guided by the National Responsible Gambling Strategy, GambleAware is an independent charity tasked to fund research, education and treatment services to help to reduce gambling-related harms in Great Britain. 
  • GambleAware is a commissioning and grant-making body, not a provider of services. The charity’s strategic aims are to: broaden public understanding of gambling-related harms, in particular as a public health issue; advance the cause of harm-prevention so as to help build resilience, in particular in relation to the young and those most vulnerable to gambling-related harms; and help those who do develop gambling-related harms get the support that they need quickly and effectively. For more information, please go to: http://about.gambleaware.org/   
  • GambleAware’s programme of treatment, education, harm prevention and research is guided by the National Responsible Gambling Strategy, which is defined by the independent Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) and endorsed by the Gambling Commission. The RGSB, the Gambling Commission and GambleAware work together under the terms of an agreement in place since 2012: http://about.gambleaware.org/media/1216/statementofintent.pdf. Research is conducted under the terms of a ‘Research Commissioning and Governance Procedure’ agreed in 2016 by the RGSB, the Gambling Commission and GambleAware:  http://about.gambleaware.org/media/1270/research-commissioning-and-governance-procedure-may-2016-final.pdf. 
  • GambleAware requires a minimum of £10 million annually to deliver its current responsibilities, and looks to all those that profit from commercial gambling to support the charity. This donation-based system was proposed after the Gambling Act 2005 and is prescribed by the Gambling Commission’s Social Responsibility Code Provision 3.1.1.(2). The RGSB endorsed GambleAware’s £10m funding goal in January 2017:  http://www.rgsb.org.uk/press-releases/responsible-gambling-strategy-board-publishes-assessment-of-the-quantum-of-funding-required-to-deliver-the-national-responsible-gambling-strategy.html 
  • GambleAware funds the Gordon Moody Association, the NHS National Problem Gambling ClinicGamCare and a network of charities across Great Britain to provide a full range of free treatment for problem gamblers and support for those affected by them. GambleAware also runs the website BeGambleAware.org which helps 2.7 million visitors a year, and supports the National Gambling Helpline – 0808 8020 133. 
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