Sport Resolutions Annual Conference 2019 | Session Announcement
Sport and Gambling: happy bedfellows or a toxic mix?
In the year ending March 2018, the total gross yield of the UK gambling industry was £14.4 billion sustaining over 100,000 jobs. In football, nearly 60% of the clubs in the top two divisions have gambling companies as shirt sponsors with further advertising featuring prominently in televised games. Additionally, since 1994, the National Lottery has raised over £39 billion for good causes providing UK Sport with funds to deliver unprecedented Olympic and Paralympic success.
However, according to the Gambling Commission, more than 2 million people in the UK are classed as problem gamblers or at risk of addiction and the media regularly contains details of players and athletes who have succumbed to gambling addiction.
Is there a link between the increased visibility and accessibility of gambling and addictive behaviour of players and the public? Even if there is, do the benefits of sporting success and commercial revenues mean that it is a price that we should pay? This session will look at the relationship between the gambling and sport industries and will explore whether, or not, there are links to the prevalence of addiction and the upsurge in the prominence of gambling advertising or whether susceptibility to addiction is simply separate and unavoidable.
Tony Adams - Former Footballer and Founder of Sporting Chance
Tony spent his entire playing career of 22 years as a defender at Arsenal. He is the most successful Arsenal Captain of all time - winning four top flight division titles, three FA Cups, two Football League Cups, a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and three FA Community Shields. Adams also captained England through the Euro 96 campaign when England reached the semi-finals before losing on penalties to Germany. In total he won 66 caps for his country.
In September 2000, as a result of his own experiences with alcoholism, Adams founded the Sporting Chance Clinic. A charity aimed at providing treatment, counselling, education it also gives confidential help & support for current & former professional sportspeople experiencing difficulties with addictive disorders, alcohol, gambling & substance misuse.
Paul Darling OBE QC - Barrister, 39 Essex Chambers
Paul Darling OBE QC has a wide experience of commercial and construction disputes and regulatory issues in the sports and gambling world. Specifically: past Chairman of the Sports Ground Safety Authority, the body set up to prevent a repetition of Hillsborough, gaining experience of the regulation and governance of football, and of local and national government; conducted many disputes about the construction sports grounds and stadia – football, rugby and horseracing; appeared at many horseracing disciplinary hearings; considerable experience of gambling including regulation and integrity issues, having been member of the board of the Tote and of the Horse Race Betting Levy Board as well as Chairman of the trade association for betting shops; involved in a number of football transfer disputes; represented the Welsh Regions in a dispute with the WRU about media payments.
John Hartson - Former Footballer and Current Pundit at BT Sport
John Hartson is a Welsh former football player who played for Celtic, Arsenal, West Ham United, Wimbledon, Coventry City and West Bromwich Albion, as well as representing Wales at international level. His greatest period of success came with Celtic, where he won three Scottish Premiership titles. John moved into the media after hanging up his boots in 2008 following a playing career that brought over 200 club goals in all competitions, as well as 14 goals in 51 caps for Wales.
In 2009 Hartson was diagnosed with testicular cancer which led to an emergency surgery due to the cancer being spread to his lungs and brain. His treatment was a success. He later set up a foundation to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer.
Soon after coming out of hospital John admitted that he was gambling heavily. He had to overcome his addiction and hasn’t placed a bet for eight years, since attending a Gamblers Anonymous meeting.
John Hartson joined BT Sport as a football pundit and co-commentator in August 2016.
Heather Wardle - Assistant Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Heather Wardle is an Assistant Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is funded by Wellcome to explore changing youth gambling behaviours and its relationship with technology. She previously was a Research Director at the National Centre of Social Research, leading their programme of gambling research, including the British Gambling Prevalence Survey.
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