Gambling sponsorship in Football

Football teams being sponsored by gambling companies isn’t new, in-fact it’s been ongoing for quite some time now. In recent years it has become more prominent with more and more teams’ key sponsors involving a betting brand. Outside of the UK the topic is quite broad with some leagues having a flat ban on this. UK is one of the most liberal regarding the topic although some initiatives have been put in place to protect the problem gamblers and those who could be at harm.


The latest initiative actually comes from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport rather than the UKGC, the department released the report which was discussed in the house of commons. The result saw drastic changes being called for by the lords. This isn’t the first time the DCMS have criticised the UKGC.


One of the measures spoken about and proposed was banning gambling sponsorships across sports in the UK. Although it is only proposed and, in its infancy, if it was to go ahead there would be a big shake up in the sports industry with the English Football league being one of the hardest hit.


Gambling Sponsorships and the revenue they bring

One area of UK sports that are against the propose are the EFL. They are worried, and rightly so I should add… that the effects the ban would bring would be detrimental to not only the league but also the teams. The reason for this? Well it’s the revenue these sponsors are bringing in for both league and teams.


To make it clearer for you, 17 out of the 24 teams in the EFL Championship have a gambling company as their key sponsor and on their shirts, meaning these brands of one the biggest revenue generators for these clubs – Losing these would have a huge impact finically. Not to mention the EFL’s leagues are actually sponsored by Sky Bet themselves. The UKGC and DCMS need to take this isn’t consideration when looking at proposed new measures.


What can EFL do?

To make it harder for EFL to fight their case, they are also actively fighting to protect problem gamblers. The EFL don’t oppose the measures but instead believe working together with the government closely to ensure the decisions are mutually beneficial.


With the current restrictions still in place due to COVID-19 clubs are already struggling finically due to no fans being in attendance to games and ticket sales being 0. This means the revenue is coming elsewhere including their sponsors. Keeping clubs running should be the key focus as the risk of falling into administration currently is higher, Wigan Athletic have recently fallen into administration this month.


When will a decision be made?

There is no set date on when the house of lords will make a decision on the new measures to be put in place. One thing that is for certain is a lot of factors will need to be taken into consideration before making said decisions. With the EFL suggesting that more than £40 million per year is paid out in sponsorship from gambling operators alone. Although protecting problem gamblers must be at the top of the priority list, protecting clubs and operations in UK sports is also a topic that needs to looked after.


It is agreed that a shake-up is needed due to the synergy between both sports and betting, this is a conversation we’ll be keeping a keen eye on as it develops and unfolds. Should any news be released we’ll be sure to have an article out ready for our viewers.