Gambling advertising and the Premier League: What can be done to suit all stakeholders?

Despite the incoming ban on front-of-shirt sponsors in the Premier League, the raft of deals with gambling companies has continued to grow.   

football

Incoming rules

In April last year, Premier League clubs voted to outlaw front-of-shirt gambling sponsors from the division by the end of the 2025/26 season, becoming the first UK sports league to do so.   

This decision came as part of the UK Government’s review of gambling legislation, with the policy proposal underlined in the White Paper as a voluntary commitment by the Premier League to end front-of-shirt sponsorships by gambling firms.   

The popularity of gambling within the football world is inherant and large. Further, the revenue it generates for clubs can be quite significant, especially for those traditionally smaller clubs.    

When the announcement about the vote was made it was estimated that the sponsorship from gambling companies was valued at £52m ($65.73m).   

Concerns raised

It is clear that gambling does play a noteworthy role in football, especially in the Premier League, but its prevalence surrounding the game has thrown up cause for concern.   

A recent survey conducted by the Football Supporters’ Associationrevealed that three-quarters of football fans are concerned about the prevalence of gambling advertising and sponsorship around the sport.   

The data in the survey also pointed out that gambling advertising was significantly more likely to influence those who are already experiencing gambling harm to spend additional money and time on gambling.   

It is clear that gambling does play a noteworthy role in football, especially in the Premier League, but its prevalence surrounding the game has thrown up cause for concern

As a result of these findings, GambleAware is advocating for stricter regulations on gambling advertising, which include banning gambling marketing at sports events and including health warnings on all gambling advertisements.   

While the incoming Premier League ban is a good step towards reducing the exposure of gambling encompassing football, the last few months have seen a number of clubs looking to take advantage of the time left to secure short-term front-of-shirt gambling sponsorship deals.   

A plethora of deals

After the 2025/26 season, gambling companies will still be able to advertise on the shirt sleeves of teams in England’s top-flight, but it is clear that front-of-shirt sponsorship is much more lucrative, given its visible location.  

In the last few months, we have seen what feels like an increased number of partnerships between gambling firms and football in general, but more specifically the Premier League.  

BetMGM extended its deal with Newcastle United and has become European betting partner of Wolverhampton Wanderers, while Wolves also secured a principal partnership deal with Debet. Net88 also became Crystal Palace’s new shirt sponsor in recent weeks and Betano agreed a deal with Aston Villa.  

Premier League sides, particularly those who aren’t consistently near the top, appear to be doing the most they can to leverage these big money deals before the ban comes in.   

To highlight this, Villa’s Betano deal is the biggest front-of-shirt sponsorship deal in the club’s history, and this is likewise the same for Wolves’ Debet agreement and Palace’s Net88 deal.  

How can gambling companies and football clubs work together?

Gambling is an area which a number of people do not agree with and there are, among other things, issues related to advertising to underage fans.   

Alcohol branding brings up the same issues and front-of-shirt sponsorship for companies in that industry was of course banned a number of seasons ago in the Premier League, but its prevalence is still evident within football. Guinness for example was recently named the Official Beer of the Premier League.   

Companies in these industries clearly play a key role for football clubs, especially when it comes to bringing in revenue and remaining competitive, but this does not mean they have to be front and centre for everyone to see.   

It also benefits the gambling companies and football clubs themselves, showing they are not jumping at every opportunity, by acting in a more sustainable way which complies with the rules. This could therefore lead to greater trust. 

One way, for example, clubs could maintain their key partnerships while reducing the impact they have on their fans was highlighted by Championship side Sunderland AFC.   

Companies in these industries clearly play a key role for football clubs, especially when it comes to bringing in revenue and remaining competitive, but this does not mean they have to be front and centre for everyone to see

Originally the Black Cats partnered with UK-based financial trading and sports betting firm Spreadex in June 2022, and in a recent move its primary partner committed to make Sunderland adult home shirts available without its front-of-shirt branding for the upcoming 2024/25 season.  

While this may seem like a small thing, it does make a real difference in helping to prevent the potential impact gambling advertisement can have on those with gambling harm, or those who are underage and can be one solution to benefit all stakeholders.  

Gambling’s continued growth combined with football’s enormous popularity means the business side of both will look to leverage each other's services, even more so given the impact the commercial side of football has on the game itself.  

There are, of course, real concerns with gambling companies having so much prevalence in football, but it's almost hard to envision the pair being separated.  

However, if serious measures are taken, such as the gambling advertisement front-of-shirt ban, then there isn’t a reason why football clubs and gambling companies can’t work together in a way that shows a commitment to responsible gambling and ensuring those who are underage are protected, similar to alcohol sponsorship in the sport. 

Premium+ Connections
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium Connections
Consultancy
Executive Profiles
Seminole Hard Rock Support Services
Metropolitan Gaming
Holland Casino
Nederlandse Loterij
Relax Gaming
Follow Us

Facing Facts: Q1 2024 analysis from across the globe

Gambling Insider tracks the Q1 results of operators across t...

Taking Stock: A guide to sports betting operator and supplier prices

Gambling Insider tracks sports betting operator and supplier...

Tailor-made: The power of personalisation in the modern gaming industry

With insights from GR8 Tech, Greentube and the Oregon Lotter...

Sportradar and the Taiwan Sports Lottery: More offerings, greater efficiency

Danny Fok, VP of Strategic Projects at Sportradar, speaks al...