Arsenal fans have been rather blessed that the club hasn’t had any prominent gambling sponsor, certainly on the shirt. Of course, like every other club there is an official gambling partner, while Paul Merson’s battle with gambling addiction has often been prominent in Gooners’ minds.

However, it doesn’t matter who you support and what sponsor you have on your shirt, the Premier League’s recent decision, agreed on by all the league’s clubs, to strip gambling sponsors from the main sponsor on shirts can only be seen as a good thing.

Gambling addiction, or behavioural addiction as it is also known, is a serious problem in the UK, with an estimated 430,000 adults believed to have a gambling problem. The rise of online gambling and the prevalence of gambling advertising in sport have been identified as contributing factors to the problem. In particular, the association between football and gambling has become increasingly strong in recent years, with many clubs in the Premier League and Championship having sponsorship deals with gambling companies.

The Premier League’s decision to ban gambling sponsorship on football shirts is a positive step in addressing the issue. By reducing the visibility of gambling advertising in football, the ban may help to reduce the normalization of gambling and the risk of gambling addiction. It may also encourage other sports to follow suit and take action against gambling advertising.

What’s more, it has been welcomed by campaigners against gambling addiction. The charity, GambleAware, has described the move as a “positive and necessary step” and has called for other sports to follow the Premier League’s lead. The ban has also been welcomed by football fans who are concerned about the impact of gambling on the sport.

Some have argued that the Premier League’s decision may have financial implications for clubs, as gambling companies have been a significant source of sponsorship revenue in recent years. However, it is important to remember that the health and wellbeing of fans and players should always be the top priority. The financial benefits of gambling sponsorship must be weighed against the potential harm caused by gambling addiction.

It also serves as a reminder that sports have a responsibility to promote positive values and behaviours, and to protect their fans and participants from harm. While gambling can be a legitimate form of entertainment for some, it is important that it is not promoted in a way that normalizes addictive behaviour or puts vulnerable individuals at risk, and many people within sport have spoken out about how it has affected their lives, including Merse himself.

While it isn’t going to fully tackling the problem football has with gambling, by reducing the visibility of gambling advertising in football, the ban will undoubtedly have at least a minor impact. Of course, in wider society there’s a much longer road ahead though and it’s going to take everyone as a collective, from the government right down to the individual suffering in order to banish this harmful disease.