Premier League Ace Hal Robson-Kanu Urges Ban on Gambling Sponsorships

Nobody is sure what the White Paper pitching changes to the Gambling Act 2005 will bring. As mystery mounts so do speculation and tempers have naturally become a little frayed. As a result, now-retired Premier League star Hal Robson-Kanu took to LinkedIn to address the possibility of gambling sponsorships remaining unchanged, vituperating against the government’s unconfirmed decision to do so.

Premier League Player Robson-Kanu Speaks His Mind

Robson-Kanu was responding to a report by The Times suggesting that lawmakers have decided not to suspend gambling sponsorships between sports clubs and their firms. Nearly half of all Premier Leagues currently have such a partnership and the leadup to the new soccer season has led to renewed interest with Sunderland AFC, Bournemouth AFC, and Everton FC all becoming some of the latest signees.

Robson-Kanu blames the current gambling minister Chris Philip who will reportedly not pass a blanket ban on such partnerships, but instead introduce a red line that, should any operator cross it, would trigger strict restrictions.

Robson-Kanu was unapologetic in his criticism of the government, arguing that allowing gambling sponsorships to continue would have an adverse impact on children. A recent study found that children in top-flight clubs continue to be exposed to gambling advertisements.

He reminded about some of the worst cases where gambling firms and their sports partners have not been able to self-regulate, including one instance where 700 instances of gambling advertisement were seen in a single Premier League match. There is only so much self-regulation could do, Robson-Kanu said, echoing the words of Rene Jansen, the chair of the Dutch gambling authority.

He argued that such sponsorships are already outdated in the first place and that it was society’s responsibility to find better ways while ensuring that young people are shielded from dangerous behavior. Another report by The Guardian has suggested that the matter may be still up for debate with not everyone sure whether a ban would happen.

There has been some heavy lobbying done by the Betting and Gaming Council which has put a lot of time and effort in convincing legislators that suspending gambling partnerships with sports clubs will have an immediate adverse consequence on those clubs’ finances. But much of the build-up to this Gambling Act review has been about passing measures that can protect consumers.

Not All Is Lost as Some Measures Remain

Other measures may remain, though, including restricting the amounts of bet sizes that can be placed online, akin to a previous decision to reduce the betting limits at Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals to just two British pounds.

Meanwhile, some topflight clubs have opted out of those partnerships anticipating that the government would press on with the rumored ban. Crystal Palace and the Wolverton Hampton have decided to go gambling-free for the upcoming season and Everton FC is now facing pushback from fans who have gathered more than 20,000 signatures calling for the club to end its affiliation with Stake.com, a global sports betting brand.

Hal Robson-Kanu’s criticism is just the latest voice to be heard in the debate that has been going on for several years now and was pitched again and again during the pandemic.

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