UK Could Ban Gambling Sponsorship on Football Kits

by Ciaran McEneaney - Sunday, January 31st, 2021 1:00

West Ham United

The UK government looks set to place an outright ban on gambling sponsorship on Football shirts in a move that could see darts, boxing, and snooker face similar restrictions.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the government would ‘support’ a ban that would be similar to the one imposed on tobacco products.

There are currently 8 teams in the Premier League that have sponsorship deals with gambling firms. These are Burnley, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Leeds, Newcastle, Southampton, West Ham and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

In the Championship, there are even more with 17 out of 24 clubs having sponsorship deals with betting firms.

The expected loss in revenue will be around £110m-a-year for clubs in the top two tiers of English football. And at a time when some clubs are already struggling financially, it’s the worst possible news.

One of the politicians spearheading the campaign is Labour MP Carolyn Harris. When asked about the possible ban, she said:

“For me, it’s about common sense prevailing over greed, because these football clubs have alternative ways to be funded,”

Football fans are also said to be quite supportive of the ban with a recent poll by Survation revealing that almost a third of fans would consider not buying their club’s kit if it had a gambling sponsor on the front.

The survey of fans was commissioned by Matt Zarb-Cousin, the director of Clean Up Gambling, who said that:

“The government would have the backing of football fans if it decided to move against gambling ads, and clubs would benefit from an increase in shirt sales.”

Clubs at the top end of the league will lose out the most from a financial perspective. The likes of West Ham, Leeds United, and Newcastle United could lose out between £7 – £10 million a year if the ban comes into effect.

While clubs in the Championship may have smaller deals, they often have fewer revenue streams so the ban could have a devastating effect.

The same could be said for players in the Professional Darts Corporation with every player in the top 10 having a betting firm logo on their sleeves. Snooker is another sport where gambling sponsorship features heavily.

Speaking of sports in general, Zarb-Cousin said:

‘Footballers, darts players, snooker players and rugby players are like walking billboards for gambling companies.

‘The evidence shows this sort of advertising is impacting negatively on children who are growing up thinking you have to put on a bet to enjoy sport.’

The potential ban will be on a par with the blanket ban of tobacco advertising in sport and has been praised by many of the country’s leading politicians.


Image credit: Steindy / CC BY-SA 4.0

Ciaran McEneaney

Ciaran has a decade of experience writing for some of the biggest names in the eSports, poker, and casino industries.