32Red, Wayne Rooney 'Exploiting Children' Professor Claims

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:

Lawmakers last week criticized former Manchester United star and England captain Wayne Rooney for his decision to wear the number 32 upon joining football club Derby's management team come January.

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The number is a tie-in with Derby sponsor, bookmaker 32red.

Derby owner Mel Morris says the deal was a means to "leverage Wayne’s involvement". He added: "Obviously, the commercial opportunities this creates are widespread and significant."

Rooney will earn a reported £100,000 a week. The average weekly wage in the Championship is £20,000.

The former minister who helped mastermind the 2005 Gambling Act, Richard Caborn, said the partnership is an embarrassment.

"It's not very clever this - it all seems a bit crass," he told the Daily Telegraph. "Wayne Rooney, who has got kids himself, should perhaps know this is not the brightest. The gambling companies need to be doing themselves favours at the moment, but this is not going to go down well with football authorities or the Government."

This week, Sports Minister Nigel Adams made it clear that Derby needs to consider the impact such a promotional tie-in will have on vulnerable gamblers.

"Clubs need to be very conscious of that link with gambling," Adams said.

"It did raise an eyebrow when I saw the 32 number on Wayne Rooney's shirt.

"Hopefully Derby County will be mindful and will be talking to the FA because we have to make sure we look after those who are vulnerable.

"There is problem gambling in our country so we have to be very careful about the message that football is sending."

Professor Jim Orford - a psychologist from Birmingham University who studies gambling - claims that the gimmick 'exploits loophole in betting rules protecting children’.

"It's obvious what it is there for, isn't it?

"It won't say 32Red, it will just be 32, but it clearly is meant to be a link to 32Red and people will start to associate the number 32 with gambling and gambling on 32Red.

"A lot of children won't understand it to start with but advertising is like that. A lot of people will understand it, while for others it will just be in the back of their minds and be subliminal.

"They are trying to just slip it in and get around that very sensible aspect of the regulations."

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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