Former Scottish Tories leader Ruth Davidson fronts new documentary on football and gambling
Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is set to present a Channel 4 documentary on the problem of online gambling and its relationship to football.
Baroness Davidson who quit Holyrood at the recent election and is to take up a place in the House of Lords, is fronting the programme, which has been described as her “debut documentary”, suggesting more may be in the pipeline.
A former BBC journalist, she is working with Firecrest Films producer and filmmaker Jennifer Shaw “to explore the complex relationship between the gambling industry and football".
The 60-minute documentary ‘Ruth Davidson Tackles Gambling and Football’ will see her examine the popularity of football betting, the growth of gambling advertising, the impact of new technology and widespread concerns about harm, particularly for younger fans.
With the coming review of the 2005 Gambling Act, she will also ask “uncomfortable questions” about why the UK Government has taken so long to address problem gambling and if it is “addicted to revenues gambling brings to the Treasury”.
Ms Davidson said: "As a life-long fan that grew up in a football household, I've watched as our national game has become saturated by gambling logos.
"From leagues to broadcasts, shirts to stadiums, gambling firms have infiltrated every nook and cranny of the game and use footy fans to push other products. I wanted to find out what potential harm this has caused – and whether we need a radical rethink to wean football off its gambling addiction.”
Channel 4 head of news and current affairs Louisa Compton said: “With an estimated 1.2 million problem gamblers across Britain and research suggesting only a tiny proportion of these get the right help – this hard-hitting investigation examines whether it’s time to fundamentally change the relationship between football and gambling.”
A poll by YouGov for GambleAware last year found 2.4 per cent of survey respondents in Great Britain were problem gamblers, while annual statistics from the National Gambling Treatment Service reported last year that 9,008 individuals were treated for gambling addiction.
Nicole Kleeman, executive producer for Firecrest Films, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Ruth, Jenni and Channel 4 on such an important film.”