Bolton Wanderers FC has announced a decision to cut all on-site betting advertisements at the University of Bolton Stadium, or enter into any new commercial partnerships and sponsorships with gambling industry firms.
Sharon Brittan, Bolton Wanderers’ Chairman, commented: “Problem gambling ruins lives and we’ve taken this stance to show our support for those who are suffering from a betting addiction.”
The club cited research which suggests that there are between 340,000 and 1.4 million adult gambling addicts in the UK and over 60,000 young people aged between 11 and 16 are addicted.
Brittan added: “We as an industry must do more and through our work with Bolton Wanderers in the Community, Bolton Wanderers Football Club will support outreach programmes for those who experience gambling problems.”
As part of the current reviews of the 2005 UK Gambling Act, betting and gambling firms are set to be banned from appearing on the front of football shirts in the Premier League.
However, it was suggested that this is less likely to be implemented into the lower leagues given the significant financial impact it would have on EFL sides.
Despite this, the League One side’s position remains clear, and CEO, Neil Hart, noted: “We recognise that some people do want to bet and also that the league has a commercial partnership with a gambling company in place – and we are respectful of this.
“However, we will not take part in any activity to promote gambling outside the existing EFL contractual requirements. This means that we will not provide match day betting kiosks or enter into any new agreements with gambling companies.”
The club currently operates a lottery that provides fundraising to support good causes and engagement projects, and this is promised to continue ‘in the spirit of transparency’.
“As a club which is at the heart of our community, we want to support those who are suffering as a consequence of gambling addiction,” Hart added.