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EFL opposes ban on gambling sponsorships

  • author icon by Kally in Industry
  • calendar icon September 7, 2021 | Last updated: September 28, 2021
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Read more about the new updates in the gambling laws that will ban gambling sponsorships.

Оne of the first clubs in the UK to cut gambling sponsorships is the football club Bolton Wanderers. This happened in September 2021 and up to recently, they were sponsored by Betfred. Will we see more football clubs going the same way soon?

The gambling industry plays a vital role in the EFL, in particular its financial success in terms of team sponsorships.

With the possibility of a new update in the gambling laws that will ban gambling sponsorships, clubs are at risk of possibly going out of business.

The EFL is taking a stand and fighting back as over half of the championships teams get sponsoring from gambling companies such as Sky Bet.

The gambling sponsorship ban

The UK Government is in the consultation phase, accepting submission on its review into the 2005 Gambling Act. The idea at the time being to ban gambling sponsorships with gambling company logos on Premier League club shirts. 24 teams in the Championships have gambling company logos on their shirts with sponsorships from Sky Bet.

The EFL is already opposing such propositions stating that it could results in major financial losses, putting various clubs out of business.

According to Parry, the EFL will be compiling their own report which they plan on submitting for the consultation. This report will serve as proof that there is no evident connection between the EFL sponsorships and problem gambling. The leagues would look at a net loss of £40 million without a shirt sponsorship.

With the current pandemic curbing various activities and ticket sales to crowds, it would be a heavy loss. According to Parry, the privately-owned clubs should have the opportunity to make their own commercial decisions on which firms their partner with.

The hope is to keep gambling sponsorships however, the House of Lords is recommending that any advertisement from bookmakers should be banned from sports venues and football shirts. The main reasoning being that it 'normalises' gambling to younger viewers and fans.

An opposing opinion

According to the Chairman of the English Premier League (EFL), Rick Parry, these plans to ban sponsorships will have a catastrophic impact on the sport. Parry states that it will have a massive impact on the smaller clubs and ultimately do nothing to support the responsible gambling efforts.

The reality is that these sponsorships are responsible for £40 million in annual income for the sports industry. And a loss of such a degree is not something the football committee could afford at this time.

Despite the years of criticism on the partnership between football organisations and betting firms, Matt Zarb-Cousin, a spokesman for Fairer Gambling, states that it's nearly impossible to prove that it has a specific impact or increases the rate of gambling harm.

Parry also added that no evidence has shown that this ban of sponsorships will reduce the current gambling problem, nor will it stop the rise of future gambling problems. The UK Government is looking into rewriting various parts of the 2005 Gambling Act, which includes online stake limits, VIP marketing, and the current regulation on game design.

The future of football teams

The main concern for many teams in the championships is that they are already suffering major losses in revenue due to the current pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

If a ban is put in place limiting their biggest sponsorships, it could lead to a lot of clubs closing down. As they don't have the financial capability to sustain themselves.

Another option according to the House of Lords, is to slowly implement the ban, giving the sports clubs time to adapt and find new sponsorships.

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