Bet365 Ends Partnership with Steven Caulker over Gambling Advocacy
Bet365, a leading betting company, has made the decision to part ways with former footballer Steven Caulker as a pundit for an online video series it sponsors. The move comes after Caulker made public statements about his struggles with gambling, prompting concerns within the company.
Caulker, who has played for teams such as QPR and Tottenham, recently found himself without a club after leaving Wigan Athletic and a stint in Turkey. The 31-year-old athlete revealed that he had initially signed up for broadcasting work but was subsequently dropped by Bet365 due to the betting company’s apprehension about his outspoken stance on gambling addiction.
The revelation came to light through The Big Step, an organization advocating for the end of gambling sponsorship and advertising in football. Caulker had previously shared his personal struggles with gambling, alcohol, and depression in a candid interview with The Guardian back in 2017.
Anti-gambling campaigners in the UK, including The Big Step, have criticized the Premier League’s attempt to compromise with the government by voluntarily giving up front-of-shirt gambling sponsorships, stating that the proposed move does not address more visible hoarding sponsorships, which are considered more problematic.
In response to the situation, Bet365 clarified that Caulker had applied to be a guest on a video series exclusively sponsored by the company. The series is published on an online video platform, not traditional television, through one of Bet365’s sports publishing partners. During the approval process, the company became aware of Caulker’s candid discussions about his negative experiences with gambling.
Bet365 expressed appreciation for Caulker’s efforts in raising awareness about problem gambling but considered it inappropriate for him to appear on a Bet365-sponsored series of that nature. The company also emphasized that their position had been inaccurately conveyed to Caulker by their media partner.
Caulker, who made headlines by scoring on his England debut in a friendly against Sweden in 2012, has undergone a notable career shift, currently serving as the captain for Sierra Leone. Despite his athletic achievements, Caulker’s off-field challenges have sparked discussions about the struggles athletes face and the delicate relationship between sports and the gambling industry.