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Charity condemns ‘out of touch’ Old Firm over gambling shirt sponsors



Charity condemns ‘out of touch’ Old Firm over gambling shirt sponsors

A charity has hit out at Celtic and Rangers ahead of the new season over their shirt sponsors featuring gambling companies.

CARE Scotland has branded the Old Firm duo as “out of touch” after they were the only two clubs in Scotland’s top flight to retain sponsorship deals with betting firms on their kits for the 2023/24 campaign.

Scottish champions Celtic will display Dafabet on their recently released home and away kits while Rangers are sponsored by Unibet.

CARE say the country’s two biggest clubs are “failing to heed public concern about gambling harms” by continuing to display the logos on their match day shirts.

It comes after a survey a Savanta poll for CARE in April found that seven in ten Scots think TV coverage of football matches is over-saturated with gambling ads.

And a significant 74% of respondents who expressed an opinion said they think “too many” gambling adverts are shown during televised football games.

And nine in ten (91%) said gambling advertising in UK football “should be overseen by a regulator”.

In a statement released on Tuesday, CARE Scotland said: “clubs face increasing pressure to sever ties with big betting, amid spiralling harms.

“Around one in 16 adults in Scotland are estimated to have, or be at risk of having, gambling problems, which affect families, communities, and wider society.”

The charity, which campaigns for tougher regulation of the gambling industry and support for people struggling with addiction, expressed concern that top tier clubs are continuing to host betting sponsors.

Spokesman Michael Veitch said: “It is disappointing to see so the Old Firm still making shirt sponsorship deals with gambling companies.

“Problem gambling is a huge concern in Scotland and research shows that people who bet on sports are more likely to fall into its grip.

“For people struggling with addiction, constant exposure to gambling marketing is far from harmless. By continuing to pursue gambling sponsorship, clubs are ignoring public health experts and bereaved families who have urged a halt to it.

“Football and gambling are too intertwined. Fans face an onslaught of betting ads at matches, on TV and online. Polling for our charity found that the Scottish public are uncomfortable with the number of ads shown during televised matches.

“Gambling sponsorship serves an industry that depends entirely on customer loss for its success, with a track record of putting profits before people. It’s time for Scottish football to blow the final whistle on its partnership with the gambling industry.”

Rangers also have a separate deal with 32Red, making it the most industry-linked club in the Scottish Premiership.

Hibernian have a “commercial partnership” with online gambling firm QuinnBet, while Livingston are sponsored by Betsat, though neither logo features on the respective clubs’ shirts.

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