Sky Bet to Tackle Gambling in Football with £1 Million Campaign

Sky Bet has launched a £1 million campaign aimed at educating footballers and backroom staff about the dangers of problem gambling.

 Joey Barton.

Sky Bet is working to help footballers understand gambling better and not fall foul of the rules like Joey Barton. (Image: Skysports.com)

Announced on May 26 and delivered in conjunction with EPIC Risk Management, Sky Bet’s campaign will see experts visit 72 football league clubs across the UK. Being the chief sponsor of the English Football League (EFL), Sky Bet has said that it wants its relationship with the sport to be enjoyable and not harmful.

“By funding such a vital service for every club we want to play our part in reducing gambling related harm amongst their players and wider staff. I firmly believe that responsible operators can add value to sport through partnerships like this,” CEO of Sky Betting & Gaming Richard Flint said in the official press release.

During the training sessions, players and staff will learn about the rules regarding betting as well as how to spot potential instances of problem gambling.

Problems Persist in Football

As well as the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) push for better responsible gambling provisions, betting in football has become an issue for some in recent years. Ex-Manchester City player Joey Barton was charged with misconduct in December 2016 after it emerged he’d made bets on multiple football matches.

Under the FA’s guidelines, any player or person employed by a professional football club in the UK is barred from betting on the sport. Despite the ban, Barton placed 1,260 bets over a 10-year period.

The former player was subsequently banned but said that many more professionals are breaking the rules.

“I’d place bets for other footballers on my accounts. I would say, on a conservative estimate, being in professional dressing rooms where there’s been readily available cash for over 15 years, you’d have half the league out,” Barton told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme in January.

Football Working to Prevent Problem Gambling

In a bid to tackle the issue, the English Premier League (EPL) cut its ties with the gambling industry in 2017. Although EPL clubs can still work with betting companies, the organisation itself decided it couldn’t promote gambling while also trying to uphold the FA’s anti-gambling rules.

Although the EFL has maintained its links with betting through its partnership with Sky Bet, it seems the two entities are now working to reduce the issue of gambling in the sport. The first responsible gambling training sessions will be held at Birmingham City, Norwich City and Charlton Athletic before reaching every EFL club over the coming months.

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