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Gambling Sponsorships For British Football Clubs Set To Be Reviewed By Government

Gambling Sponsorships For British Football Clubs Set To Be Reviewed By Government

There has been a lot of concern around the level of gambling sponsorships that are currently in place in British football, and the government is looking to review these arrangements. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport are reviewing betting and gambling regulations, the result of which is set to have a huge impact on the relationship between gambling firms and football, as well as the financial side of things.

The Department is looking to overhaul the Gambling Act of 2005, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson having reportedly taken a personal interest in this matter as well, and a House of Lords committee having singled out sports sponsorships with gambling firms as a particular area of interest and concern.

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It is no secret that gambling firms rely a lot on football to be able to push their marketing and get more people to bet. At the same time, this is not just related to betting, the best casino sites, which have casino games such as poker, live blackjack etc, have sponsored football teams in the past, since there is a huge audience for English football which increases those brands’ visibility and thus their potential client base.

However, there have also been concerns around how widespread and well-set gambling is within football, with many people being classified as problem gamblers and having addictions to deal with. Thus, those calls for a review by the government have finally been met, with the current audit expected to last around three months, which means that clubs are optimistic that it will be completed before the 2021-22 season starts, and so they will have clarity with regard to sponsorship agreements.

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Many observers have called for a blanket ban on betting firms as the main shirt sponsors for football clubs, which would be a huge blow for dozens of clubs which rely heavily on the sponsorship revenue that such deals bring. The House of Lords committee proposed that any ban on shirt sponsorships be delayed until 2023 to allow clubs the time to find replacements, but otherwise wants gambling advertisements to not be a part of football at all.

Eight of the 20 Premier League clubs have shirt sponsorship deals with betting companies, while there are many clubs in the EFL which have similar arrangements. In fact, the three EFL divisions – Championship, League One and League Two are all sponsored by a betting company as well, and those deals have been even more vital in the current situation, where the COVID-19 pandemic has caused huge revenue losses for clubs all across the divisions. Two-thirds of Championship clubs have sponsorship agreements with betting companies, for example, and these deals have been a major reason why many clubs have managed to stay afloat during this difficult time.

The lack of a clear plan or roadmap towards fans being allowed to enter stadiums again has also been cited as a problem, with clubs and the leagues saying that they cannot be expected to continue playing in empty stadiums while racking up losses.

There have also been initiatives taken towards promoting gambling awareness, including having clubs from all three divisions in the EFL wear badges on their sleeves promoting safe gambling. Swansea City, in the Championship, have recently announced an 18-month partnership with The Big Step, which is a charity project focused on football gambling and those who have suffered harm from this activity.

Such initiatives may not prove to be enough, with a recent survey stating that 58% of respondents believed that there are too many gambling sponsorships in British football. It remains to be seen as to the impact that this review will have on the financial landscape of football in the UK, as well as the future of gambling.

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