As the British government continues it's inexorable slide into the arms of the gambling industry, Sports Minister Richard Caborn has announced that restrictions on gambling advertising on TV and radio are to be relaxed. Excellent! Just what we need...
Caborn assures us (and we believe him, really) that the government is going to monitor the situation and step in itself or via the Gambling Commission if it detects any worrying developments. Like what? An increase in problem gambling perhaps?
Apparently, the adverts must not show gamblers behaving in a way that could result in "financial, social or emotional harm". Exactly what is the purpose of the gambling sector advertising it's addictive wares if not to create this "financial, social or emotional harm" which the industry views as profits and returns to shareholders?
Caborn redraws the lines of engagement to suit his twisted perspective of the frontline and grey areas between sports and gambling. The new regulations simply legalise the pushing of corruption via advertising. Dressing it up in terms of "acceptable advertising practice" is throwing a veil over the real point that such addictive and corrupt products should not be allowed to be advertised. Full stop... Would Caborn be as excited by the prospects of crack cocaine adverts being legalised so long as such adverts fell within Advertising Standard Authority guidelines? Actually, he probably would if it enhanced his career in some manner.
Anyway, at long last, the adverts during football matches will be representative of the "sport" that we are being offered.
Indeedy, the FA Cup Semi Finals already are indicative of the advertising/gambling/"sport" linkages that we can expect. The climax of this year's competition has drawn Abramovich or Mansion Bookmakers-backed Spurs against Blackburn Rovers who are sponsored by Bet24. The other game features 888casino supported 'Boro or AIG/Glazers United against Loans.co.uk's Watford. These mock battles will preface the glorious reopening of Wembley featuring Man Utd and Chelsea.