Bolton Wanderers FC is showing support for ending betting sponsorships and advertising in sport by joining the ‘Against the Odds’ campaign.
The operation is reportedly in talks with several football clubs in the hope that Bolton’s decision will ‘spark a nationwide movement’. The campaign aims to demonstrate the prevalence of the gambling marketing in sport.
Bolton Wanderers Chairman, Sharon Brittan, said: “Gambling addiction can have a devastating effect on individuals and their families and communities, and that’s why Bolton Wanderers Football Club is pledging formal support for the pioneering Against the Odds campaign by signing their charter.
“Last year, we made the decision to close the on-site betting facilities at the University of Bolton Stadium and committed to not enter into any new commercial partnerships or sponsorships with firms representing the gambling industry.
“As a club we are proud of the role we play in our community and, along with Bolton Wanderers in the Community, we will continue to be a driving force in supporting the health and well-being of all the residents of our town.”
Recent research by the organisation found that gambling firm logos can appear over 700 times in one football game alone.
“The gambling industry often talks about ‘gambling responsibly’ but with every square inch of sports stadia being sold to advertise dozens of different sports betting brands, it’s no wonder that we’re seeing more and more people suffering from gambling-related harms,” added Michael Viggars, Project Manager at Healthy Stadia and Campaign Lead for Against the Odds.
“With Bolton Wanderers leading the way in Greater Manchester and nationally, we believe we can start a movement to end gambling sponsorship in sport and prevent thousands of fans and their families from experiencing harm. We are Against the Odds and we need the support of clubs big and small right across Greater Manchester.”
Last year, following reports that the DCMS was moving to ban sponsorship arrangements between betting companies and Premier League football clubs, Bolton Wanderers made its first step in severing its ties to the industry.
The team then made the announcement that it was instead going to seek forming partnerships with charities and organisations specialising in betting addiction treatment.
The gambling ban was reportedly less likely to be implemented to the lower leagues originally, given the significant financial impact it would have on EFL sides.
Bolton Wanderers’ prior engagement with the betting and gaming industry has seen the Greater Manchester club name Betfred as an official front-of-shirt sponsor for the EFL Championship 2017/18 season, whilst also becoming among the first Premier League teams, alongside Wigan Athletic, to partner with 188Bet.