Children are bombarded with betting ads on social media by top clubs

Children are bombarded with betting adverts on social media… by some of our top football clubs

  • Critics accused some Premier League sides of giving the game ‘a bad name’ 
  • Fears for the children who are among the followers on Twitter who see adverts
  • Former goalie Peter Shilton describes gambling in football as ‘morally wrong’ 

Premier League clubs including Arsenal and Manchester City were last night accused of ‘giving football a bad name’ for promoting gambling firms on Twitter.

Many children will be among the legions of followers amassed by the clubs on the platform.

Twitter posts from Arsenal’s official account urged their 17million followers to gamble with Sportsbet.io, described as the side’s ‘official betting partner’.

Manchester City’s Twitter account promoted odd from a betting firm before their victory in the Premier League against Manchester City

Twitter posts from Arsenal’s official account urged their 17million followers to gamble with Sportsbet.io during their draw with Manchester United

Manchester City’s official Twitter account promoted odds from betting firm Marathon Bet to the club’s nine million followers before their victory over Sheffield United on Saturday.

Newcastle United urged their 1.6million Twitter followers to guess the name of the first goalscorer for their weekend tie against Everton, with one winner receiving a £20 free bet with shirt sponsor Fun88.

Burnley Football Club’s Twitter account provided odds for yesterday’s match against Chelsea, promoted to more than half a million fans. 

The clubs’ tweets sparked concern among campaigners and MPs.

It is illegal for gambling firms to advertise directly to children. However, in an advertising loophole, hundreds of thousands of their online followers will be under 18.

Former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton called football’s links with gambling ‘morally wrong’ 

On Saturday, Championship club Coventry City urged fans on Twitter to bet on their derby match against Birmingham City with gambling firm BoyleSports.

Last night football legend Peter Shilton, 71, called football’s deep-rooted association with gambling ‘morally wrong’. 

‘It’s all about money, money, money, but I’m sure football can survive without having to promote something like gambling,’ he said, adding: ‘It is time for the Government to step in and say that it’s not right.’

Shilton, who won a record 125 England caps, endured a 45-year addiction to gambling. Along with his wife Steph, he has launched a campaign called Shilton’s Shirt Gambling Ban to kick gambling advertising out of football.

Labour MP Carolyn Harris, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on gambling harm, said the association with betting firms ‘gives football a bad name’. The Government is currently reviewing gambling laws.

An Arsenal spokesman said: ‘Our partnership with Sportsbet.io is founded on a joint commitment to promote safe and responsible gambling. 

‘We are pleased to partner with an industry-leading organisation that takes its social and regulatory responsibility extremely seriously.’

A spokesman for Coventry City said: ‘In line with English Football League guidance, the club and BoyleSports work closely to ensure that the promotion of any gambling products is conducted responsibly and in line with all appropriate licensing and regulatory guidelines.’

A Newcastle United spokesman declined to comment. Manchester City and Burnley were contacted for comment.

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