Soccer followers had been bombarded with 11,000 playing messages through the opening weekend of the most recent Premier League season, in line with a research that warns of “overwhelming and inescapable” betting imagery within the recreation.
Golf equipment within the prime flight agreed earlier this yr to ban playing corporations from sponsoring the entrance of gamers’ shirts from 2025, however the analysis – which analysed social media posts alongside hours of TV and radio – forged doubt on the possible impact of that measure, given the saturation of soccer with different playing messages.
The report, commissioned by 5 Information from the Bristol Hub for Playing Harms Analysis, raised a number of key issues together with:
the sheer quantity of playing messages;
social media content material not clearly labelled as advertisements; and
inadequate safer playing messaging.
Throughout six stay matches broadcast on TV over the season’s opening weekend, the 11 to 14 August, viewers had been proven 6,966 playing messages, together with logos on shirts, pitchside hoardings and industrial breaks. Of these, solely a fifth had been accompanied by a message supporting safer playing, in line with the research.
The authors raised specific issues about social media, discovering that 1,902 playing advertisements over the primary weekend of the Premier League had been seen 34m occasions.
Of “content material advertising” posts by playing corporations – sometimes people who focus on or describe match motion – 92% weren’t clearly identifiable as promoting and a few might due to this fact be in breach of promoting laws, the report mentioned.
It additionally discovered that there have been 600 playing messages throughout simply two hours of broadcasting on Sky Sports activities Information, whereas TalkSport featured a minimum of one playing advert throughout each industrial break.
Amid rising scepticism concerning the Premier League’s proposed ban on front-of-shirt sponsorship by playing corporations, the research forged additional doubt on the measure, which the 20 prime flight golf equipment put ahead voluntarily.
They mentioned the transfer was “unlikely to considerably cut back the frequency of playing messages, because it fails to deal with the presence of logos on different areas resembling pitchside hoardings, whereas golf equipment will nonetheless be allowed to hold logos on shirt-sleeves”.
The choice to forgo front-of-shirt sponsors adopted public concern about kids’s publicity to playing, in addition to a collection of high-profile cases of gamers being punished for breaking Soccer Affiliation guidelines forbidding betting on the sport.
Brentford FC and England striker, Ivan Toney, is serving an eight-month ban for breaching the betting guidelines and has spoken publicly about his habit.
The previous Newcastle United and Cardiff Metropolis striker, Michael Chopra, informed 5 Information the quantity of betting sponsorship in soccer had made his personal habit worse. He mentioned: “As quickly as I stepped off that white line and was sitting within the altering room, I keep in mind a Cardiff Metropolis strip – we had a betting firm sponsor. So I’m sitting direct throughout from somebody, taking a look at one other participant, immediately there’s a set off.”
The federal government revealed a white paper on reform of playing regulation earlier this yr however took no motion on promoting or soccer sponsorship.
The playing minister, Stuart Andrew, not too long ago informed the tradition choose committee that there was “little proof” of a hyperlink between advertisements and gambling-related hurt. Nonetheless, one overarching evaluation of analysis into playing promoting, revealed within the journal Public Well being in February, known as for promoting restrictions.
Whereas researchers acknowledged “important limitations” within the proof base, they discovered: “Within the absence of definitive managed research, the substantial and constant proof base helps restrictions to scale back publicity to playing promoting.”
A spokesperson for the Division for Digital, Tradition, Media and Sport mentioned: “There are already sturdy guidelines in place to verify playing promoting is socially accountable however, as a part of our playing white paper plans, the Premier League has dedicated to a front-of-shirt sponsorship ban from the top of the 2025/26 season.
“We’re additionally introducing new guidelines to forestall aggressive practices from playing operators which can be focusing on prospects displaying indicators of hurt.”
A spokesperson for the playing business commerce physique, the Betting and Gaming Council (BCG), mentioned its members dedicated 20% of TV and radio promoting to safer playing messages and would do the identical with digital promoting.
“Our members have additionally launched new age gating guidelines for promoting on social media platforms, focusing on advertisements to these aged 25 and over until a platform can verifiably show that its age gating techniques can stop under-18s from accessing playing promoting content material.”
The BGC additionally indicated that it didn’t imagine sponsorship counted as advertising.
Sky Sports activities Information declined to remark. TalkSport was approached for remark.