The UK Gambling Commission have had a busy week, beginning with the announcement of a ban on the use of credit cards for gambling in the UK from 2020. But now they seek to enforce a blanket ban on shirt sponsorship by betting companies across the country.
Only last week, it was revealed that seven major gambling companies in the UK would be living-streaming the FA Cup games - connected with a deal by the Football Association made back in 2017. The decision was met with a lot of criticism from the media and UK Government, with politicians like Iain Duncan Smith claiming the deal should be revoked.
The gambling companies benefit by streaming the games for free, by requiring users to create an account with the company. This is what has drawn so much criticism. A total of 5.36bn was spent on online-gambling between April 2018 and March 2019. It’s clear what the incentive is for these companies.
Though the report, which was published in The Times newspaper, does suggest an outright ban, it also suggests less extreme measures are being considered. The suggestion pertains to companies demonstrating their commitment to promoting responsible gaming.
Gambling sponsorship In the Premier League 2020
At present, half of the teams in the English Premier League hold sponsorship deals with betting gambling companies. The ban could be catastrophic for funding in the league.
The financial backing for teams in the UK is imperative to ensure the league remains competitive. However, outside of the “Top 6” there are no teams with the support required to compete at the highest level, without the backing of gambling companies.
2019/20 Premier League Shirt Sponsors
|Sponsor||Value of Sponsorship Deal|
|West Ham United||Betway||£10,000,000|
Back in 2017 the introduction of shirt sleeve sponsors was introduced. As of today, there are 3 teams in the league, who hold shirt sleeve sponsorship deals with gambling companies; Aston Villa (BR88), Bournemouth (Mansion) and Burnley (LoveBet).
What does this mean for the future Gambling Sponsorship?
The ban would represent a positive direction for English football, and sport as a whole, with the intent to establish an ethical attitude towards where fundingis sourced.
Having said that, we’ve seen a similar thing with racism in football. The “Kick it Out” organisation was founded in 1993 with the intention of removing racism from the game. Fast-forward 27 years and we still see racism in the game. The recent incident in the Manchester Derby is testament to the lack of change.
This issue isn’t one that’s unique to the Premier League. The gambling industry is present in football across all European leagues, with numerous sponsorship deals within the top leagues. It will be interesting to see how things develop and whether the decision by the UK Government starts a trend across Europe.
Alternatively, the regulators may not take action and companies continue to operate as major sponsors. What do you think is the future for Gambling Sponsorship in sport?