Bishop of St Albans asks Government about ‘gamblification’ of sport

Bishop St Albans June 2015On 9th January 2020 the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Baroness Barran, repeated a Government statement on the Football Association and Bet365. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the huge rise in what many campaigners are calling the gamblification of sport is happening rapidly before our eyes. The Gambling Commission itself has identified 55,000 teenagers in this country suffering from gambling-related harm and 430,000 adults. Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS, has pointed out that it is costing a hard-pressed NHS up to £1.2 billion a year. Just yesterday, a new gambling clinic opened in Sunderland funded by the NHS. Will this review, which we are grateful that Her Majesty’s Government have promised, include the issue of the gamblification of sport and look at things such as logos on shirts and wraparound adverts around pitches—all of which are excluded at the moment, which make a mockery of the whistle-to-whistle ban that we were promised?

Baroness Barran: I can only repeat that nothing is off the table in the review of the Act, so I would assume that exactly those issues of the gamblification—if that is a word—of sport and the examples the right reverend Prelate gives will be addressed. To be clear, the issues that came up over the weekend do not apply to under-18s—but, even so, I take his point.


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