Betting On Gov. Action, EPL Yellow Cards Shirt Sponsorship
In a move that some critics are calling as much performative as transformative, given that impending UK government gaming reform is heavily mooted to yellow card, if not red card, ties between football and betting firms, the English Premier League (EPL) has agreed to drop gambling sponsorship from the front of team shirts by the end of the 2025-26 season.
Smaller, less prominent, betting branding on shirt sleeves will, however, still be allowed.
Eight top flight football teams–among them Newcastle United (Fun88), Everton (Stake.com), West Ham (Betway), Brentford (Hollywoodbets) and Bournemouth (Dafabet)–currently have principal front-of-shirt sponsorship deals with betting firms in place, worth a collective £60 million (US$75.19m/€67.95m).
Under continuing EPL norms, all Premier League clubs will still also be able to feature LED betting advertising at their grounds on match days.
With one big proviso:
At least until the government finally produces its long-delayed gambling reform White Paper, now three-years in the making and waiting, which will seek to update legislation as fit-for-purpose for our age of digital iGaming and mobile phones.
White Paper Imminent
The White Paper review of the 2005 Gambling Act–mulled over by three Conservative prime ministers and six successive ministers for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport–is now imminent, say observers, with publication set for as early as Monday, April 17.
Meantime, according to government and football industry sources, there are no plans to impose gambling bans on teams in the Scottish Premier Football League or lower football leagues in the UK.
The gambling White Paper review was launched on December 8, 2020, during the premiership of Boris Johnson.
Lucy Frazer, the latest Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the government department which oversees the gambling industry, has “welcomed” the EPL decision.
“[Although] the vast majority of adults gamble safely, we have to recognise that footballers are role models who have enormous influence on young people,” said Frazer, MP for South East Cambridgeshire, who was appointed as minister in February.
“We want to work with institutions like the Premier League to do the right thing for young fans. We will soon bring forward a gambling white paper to update protections for punters and ensure those who are at risk of gambling harm and addiction are protected.”