Ladbrokes owner calls for ban on gambling adverts and shirt sponsorship

The owner of Britain’s biggest gambling firm Ladbrokes has called for a ban for all betting adverts during TV sports broadcasts.

GVC, which is also behind Coral, has outlined a series of proposals to protect problem gamblers, including an end to football shirt sponsorship.

The firm’s boss Kenny Alexander called on the industry to “do more to protect the vulnerable” by following the company’s actions.

A round-the-clock ban on gambling adverts should be introduced for all sports broadcasts, excluding horse racing, he said.

Ladbrokes and Coral confirmed they will cancel all shirt sponsorship deals and stop advertising on pitch-side boards to allow football fans to watch without an incentive to bet.

The proposals go further than current industry plans for a voluntary “whistle-to-whistle” ban on advertising during live sports, including after 9pm if the event started before the watershed, which will be introduced from August 2019.

The pledges echo a policy announced by Labour in 2017 to tackle gambling addiction and exposure to gambling among children.

Commercials which specifically promote responsible gambling and safer gambling campaigns would be permitted, but strictly limited to one per advert break.

Ladbrokes and Coral sponsor a number of major sporting events including the Rugby League Challenge Cup and Scottish Premiership.

GVC’s chief executive Kenny Alexander said: “Whilst the vast majority of our customers enjoy our products responsibly, it is high time that the industry did more to protect its customers from potential harm.

“I call on our industry peers to help us bring about an end to broadcast advertising which promotes sports betting in the UK no matter the time of day.”

GVC, which bought Ladbrokes Coral in March 2018, also pledged to drive 1% of gambling revenue into research, treatment projects and education by 2022, up from the current levy of 0.1%.

The company will also establish a new independent trust with the aim of making charitable contributions to fund the treatment of problem gambling