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New UK Research Project into Effects of Gambling Sponsorship

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Several of the UK's prominent universities are set to research the possible relationship between gambling sponsorships and public health. The project, named “Kicking the Habit: Historicising 'Addictive' Sport Sponsorship in Britain”, has secured £1.6 million from the Wellcome Institute for its funding.

The research will involve collaboration among the University of Nottingham, the University of Glasgow, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. The trio will focus on assessing the influence of gambling sponsorships.

This study follows the release of a white paper that, researchers say, inadequately tackled the issue of sponsorships in professional sports. Therefore, the research aims to determine whether additional measures are required.

Although some expected the white paper to propose an advertising ban, the Premier League’s voluntary decision to remove front-of-shirt sponsorships led lawmakers to forgo such a restriction.

Research to Extend to Alcohol and Tobacco

The investigation will cover a decade-long period, examining how the gambling industry’s connections with professional sports have evolved. Researchers will also look at sports leagues' relationships with the alcohol and tobacco sectors.

Experts aim to ascertain whether addictive industries and their involvement with sports are impacting public health in the UK. The findings are expected to fuel ongoing discussions about the role of sponsorships in the country.

Anna Greenwood, a professor of health history at the University of Nottingham, conveyed her eagerness to contribute to this research. According to Greenwood, the study will reveal the significance of historical patterns in shaping current attitudes toward sports sponsorships by harmful industries. The research may even show a potential link to gambling addiction.

Examining the Present through a Historical Lens

Alex Mold, an associate professor of history at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, pointed out that alcohol, tobacco, and gambling can be detrimental when not consumed in moderation. However, these products and their respective industries differ from one another. By examining their histories, Mold believes the study will offer crucial insights into their ongoing relevance today.

Heather Wardle, a professor of gambling research and policy at the University of Glasgow, also shared her thoughts. According to Wardle, it’s essential to understand how gambling sponsorships have become an accepted part of modern culture.

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