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Revealed: Star football pundits promote World Cup gambling despite ban | world Cup

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Football pundits Harry Redknapp, Peter Crouch and Robbie Keane are helping to promote betting on World Cup matches despite tougher rules on celebrity gambling endorsements to protect youngsters.

Fifa officials estimate that the last World Cup generated £120 billion in betting revenue. Gambling companies are hoping for a similar betting frenzy for this year’s tournament, despite Qatar’s gambling ban.

Redknapp, the former West Ham and Spurs manager, who won the TV show I’m a celebrity… get me out of here! in 2018 promoted BetVictor’s World Cup coverage with an advertising campaign and expert commentary on the brand’s website.

Former England striker Crouch is a brand ambassador for gaming company Paddy Power, appearing in advertising for the tournament. It also features on a Paddy Power backed ‘album’, along seven minutes Crouchy leads the classicsthe proceeds of which are donated to the Stonewall charity.

It was announced last month that Keane, the former Tottenham player and Republic of Ireland international, had become a Betway brand ambassador. He will provide expert advice for the World Cup.

New rules came into force on October 1 in the UK to stop celebrities having a “strong appeal” to young people promoting gambling. The Advertising Standards Authority, the independent regulator, said the new rules would “significantly” affect gambling advertisers using celebrities and high-profile sportspeople.

The ban covers footballers from top clubs, but the guidelines say former players or managers are less likely to appeal to youngsters. The guidelines state that “retired footballers who have moved on to punditry/commentator will be assessed on the basis of their social profile and other media”.

Tom Fleming, spokesman for the Gambling with Lives charity, which supports families bereaved by gambling-related suicide, claimed the use of celebrities to promote the game during the World Cup was contrary to the spirit new rules.

He said: “The barrage of gambling ads around the World Cup will lead to addiction for many people. No one, let alone ex-footballers, should be promoting highly addictive products, which is why the government must end all gambling advertising and marketing.

Ministers said in December 2020 they were reviewing gambling laws, which would include football advertising and sponsorship. The white paper has been delayed four times, but is expected soon.

The Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) said it was concerned that the promotion of the game during the World Cup “would help to normalize the game” and “cause an increase in the number of people suffering harm related to the Game”.

Greg Fell, ADPH Vice President, said: “We know that the use of celebrities is likely to increase the interest of children and young people. It is essential that government act to regulate marketing and promotion in the interest of public health.

A study published last week by the charity GambleAware found that six in 10 football fans believed there were too many gambling adverts during international football tournaments. He launched a campaign, backed by the Football Supporters’ Association, to help protect fans.

In addition to advertising and marketing in the UK, global betting brands seek to maximize their revenue in international markets. It was announced last week that recently sacked Aston Villa manager and former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard would be an M88 Mansion brand ambassador for the World Cup tournament, focusing on the Asian market.

The Betting and Gaming Council, which promotes the betting and gaming industry, said: ‘The regulated betting and gaming industry provides some of the nation’s most popular sports with vital funding.

The council said the industry voluntarily agreed in 2019 to a ‘whistle whistle’ ban on TV adverts at sporting events before the 9 p.m. turning point, starting five minutes before the start of the event and ending five minutes after its end.

Flutter, which operates the Paddy Power brand, said: “We are working very hard to ensure that we comply with all applicable regulations regarding the use of celebrities, and we strongly believe that we are leading the way to safer gaming. . We hope that the country can enjoy our publicity in the spirit for which it is intended.

BetVictor said its campaign complied with all relevant regulations.

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