The release of the UK’s Gambling White Paper brought some defining changes for all gamblers across the country, with specific new limitations on casino advertising, as well as new rights for athletes that would allow them to oppose wearing apparel on moral or religious grounds.
Sportsbook sites registered with the UKGC have had reign over advertising on uniforms and in stadiums over the last decade. Since 2013, athletes and sports teams have repeatedly voiced their opposition to being forced to wear jerseys and outfits plastered with gambling company logos. Many Muslim players have come up in the news for rejecting clothing with these logos, which teams are often sponsored and contractually obligated to wear, as Islam forbids gambling. Now, players will have a legal ground to stand on if they refuse to wear certain uniform items without losing sponsors or becoming responsible for any broken contractual agreements.
In 2022, the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) passed a rule that banned extremely popular celebrities and football players, like Ronaldo, from appearing in gambling ads on television to protect children from being influenced by inappropriate programming.
However, Gambling sponsorships and ambassadorships make up for salaries among athletes that haven’t quite reached worldwide fame. Local footballers and players in smaller clubs rely on outside sources to make an income. Still, public support, including support among athletes for this measure, is high. After a rugby player was ousted from his contract in 2020 for refusing to wear his team’s jersey due to a sponsorship from a casino, citing conflicting religious views, other famous footballers, rugby, and even cricket players have come forward to support new measures in the Gambling White Paper.
Players who wish to continue with their sponsorships and other ambassadors roles with casinos may do so, but will have to be careful to abide by stricter gambling advertising rules than ever. The White Paper states that technology will be used to divert away from gambling advertising, especially for underage parties, and may create a facility with the option to allow customers to reject casino adverts altogether.
In addition to more regulation in advertising, the White Paper is set to increase taxes on operators, creating more funding for anti-addiction programs like hotlines and programs that bar problem players. Adversaries of the White Paper argue that all these new provisions will just increase traffic to non GamStop casino sites, where players are not limited by the UK government’s harsh rules.
According to the latest data, the UK’s gambling sector is worth 14 billion pounds, growing yearly. One of the largest money makers, economists speculate that the implementation of the White Paper could cost the gambling industry to drop by 5-10% in the next year. Casino advertising is also a large part of the marketing industry, and scaling back and reforming marketing tactics will cost the economy millions of euros.