Swansea shifts approach to gambling sponsorship

24 September 2019

Swansea City has launched a new responsible gambling project with the aim of helping protect supporters from gambling-related harms and educating players about the risks involved with betting.

The football club, which is based in Wales but plays in the English Championship, made a number of commitments as to how it will now manage its relationships with gambling operators.

The ‘Responsible Gambling Pledge’ forms part of a wider initiative at Swansea, whereby it will appoint fans as ‘Champion Jacks’ to work with the club on its decision-making processes around various issues. Student Ben Church is the first Champion Jack and played a role in helping the club develop its new responsible gambling plan.

While the club will continue to work with gambling partners, having agreed a shirt sponsorship deal with online operator YOBET in July for the 2019-20 season, it will introduce a number of new restrictions on such partnerships.

This will see it restrict betting adverts across its official club website, social media channels, marketing materials and both matchday and community activities. In addition, the club will ensure all of its playing staff will take part in a betting education programme and have access to support networks and treatments for gambling-related problems if required.

“Swansea City believes that sponsorship by betting and gaming companies must be conducted in a socially responsible way,” Church, 18, said. “It should aim to balance promotional opportunities with measures that help preserve the welfare of those playing or watching and who could be at risk of becoming addicted to gambling or be addicted to gambling already.

“Responsible gambling is an area I feel passionate about and I hope to make a difference.”

Swansea City is the latest professional football club to champion responsible gambling, with a number of other teams having joined forces with Paddy Power on the bookmaker’s ‘Save Our Shirt’ campaign.

Launched through a partnership with Huddersfield Town FC, Save Our Shirt sees Paddy Power call for betting operators to stop striking football shirt sponsorship deals. GVC Holdings, meanwhile, has donated its football sponsorship assets to problem gambling charity GambleAware.

Aside from Huddersfield, Paddy Power is also working with Southend United, Newport County and Scottish Premier League football club Motherwell.

Lewes FC, a team playing in the seventh tier of English football, has signed up Gambling with Lives, a gambling addiction charity, as its shirt sponsor.

Image: Robin Drayton