This season will have nine of the twenty Premier League and seventeen out of twenty-four in the Championship advertising a gambling company on their shirts this and those experts on problem gambling describe the growing number of clubs that do have betting firms or even online casinos like PlayUK.com on their shirts as worrying, going as far to say that there should be a national debate on the potential harm, that in fact a debate is long overdue.
The truth is we can quote statistics as much as we like but the real question that has to be answered is the one ‘does having a name of an online casino on a sports shirt encourage problem gamblers?’
Of course, there will always be those people that are drawn by the perceived glamour of gambling and if their favourite football team is seen to endorse having a bet but surely those personalities are in the minority within our population?
In fact, pushing something underground, making it a little distasteful, a little shady actually appeals to many people and if we are not careful a ‘nanny state’ attitude will most likely encourage those who would not have considered have a bet or wager to do so.
Much in the way of hiding cigarettes behind sliding doors or pushing pornography to the top shelf the UK has always seemed to be able to dictate to its residents when it chooses, and rather than leave it to personal choice whether to have a bet or to smoke, there are those that would have stricter rules put into place.
As football has such a massive following in the UK it does not take a giant brain to figure out that whoever becomes the official sponsor of the top teams is hoping to push their brand forward, but really? Can we blame the fact of problem gamblers on shirt sponsorship?
People gamble for a few reasons.
There are those that have a recreational bet perhaps on a Darby or on the outcome of the World Cup, then there are those that gamble in the hope of making easy money, and those that will chase their losses and not know when to walk away, just like those who can have a recreational drink and those who do not know when to stop, the label on the bottle is not at fault it is the person themselves.
Those people who have and addictive personality are going to drink or gamble or carry out their passion to excess whatever the advertisements that surround them might be.