Reported Sponsorship Agreement Between SPFL and William Hill Draws Ire of Inverclyde’s MP

Ronnie Cowan In an interview with the Greenock Telegraph, Ronnie Cowan, currently serving as the Member of Parliament for Inverclyde, expressed his disapproval of the potential £10 million sponsorship deal that the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) is reportedly planning to sign with William Hill.

The issue emerged after the sponsorship arrangement between the SPFL and Cinch, a company specialising in the selling of used vehicles, fell apart last year when Cinch exercised its right to terminate the partnership prematurely. The company will officially cease being the SPFL’s sponsor once the 2023-24 season ends. According to Mail Sport, William Hill is set to replace Cinch, and the news was not well received by Mr Cowan.

Ronnie Cowan is an advocate for gambling reform and was recently at the helm of a Westminster debate centred around gambling harm. He told the Greenock Telegraph that the deal would prove detrimental to Scottish football and sport in general, deeming the gambling industry a “parasite” and highlighting how normalising gambling via sponsorship deals and ads can exacerbate gambling addiction.

According to Mr Cowan, football’s popularity should make it possible for the sport to stick to sponsorships by companies not involved in the selling of “a potentially lethal product.” He further stressed that, due to betting sponsorships, gambling takes precedence over the sport. Mr Cowan later added that the promotion of gambling on the pitch makes it impossible for fans to avoid exposure to betting ads unless they give up on watching football games. An emphasis was also placed on how this impacts “the young, the vulnerable and those already experiencing gambling-related harm,” as Mr Cowan believes they are inevitably targeted thanks to gambling ads’ predominance.

Gambling Addiction and Crime

Gambling Addiction and Crime While speaking with the Greenock Telegraph, Mr Cowan put a focus on the ways gambling can harm vulnerable individuals, stressing that it can place people in difficult financial situations as well as cause issues when it comes to one’s social life and relationships. He also touched upon work-related problems caused by wagering and how some people turn to crime due to gambling-related harm. He eventually added the following:

“We need to slow down gambling, build in cooling-off periods and give people space and time to consider their actions and the outcomes. Advertising through sports does the opposite of those. It pushes, it cajoles, it encourages.”

It should be noted that there are cases, particularly with relation to gambling-fuelled crime, that support Mr Cowan’s stance. Just this week, Casino Guardian reported on how an individual from Kingston Upon Hull in England narrowly dodged prison time as financial difficulties caused by gambling addiction had resulted in him using drug dealing to support himself.

The problem is not exclusive to the UK either, seeing as this week also saw Brandon Kenneth Frances from Brisbane, Australia, being found guilty of fraud and theft. As reported by the Brisbane Times, Mr Frances had used laptops from his workplace to take out small loans (AU$120 each) from Cash Converters in order to feed his sports betting addiction, and he would pay them off quickly. Furthermore, his then position as employee of the Department of Justice had resulted in the risk of sensitive information being leaked. However, both the size of the loans and his willingness to cooperate with the court ultimately resulted in him being handed a suspended sentence.

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Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.
Daniel Williams
Casino Guardian covers the latest news and events in the casino industry. Here you can also find extensive guides for roulette, slots, blackjack, video poker, and all live casino games as well as reviews of the most trusted UK online casinos and their mobile casino apps.

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