Football Fans Cry Foul, But Clubs Continue To Bet on Gambling Ads

With countries, increasingly, electing to ban gambling ads, we look at the state-of-play in the fevered nexus of sports and betting sponsorship.

Around the world countries are either banning or sanctioning the hitherto winning fiscal synergy between sporting teams and gambling endorsements.

Holland and Belgium are the latest top iGaming nations to outlaw gambling ads, effective as of this month.

Here in England, the storied English Premier League (EPL)–perhaps the most watched and followed sporting league on the planet–has attempted to draw some of the ire from the debate about the toxic repercussions of gambling ads and sponsorship in sports by announcing the rupture of such relationships by the end of the 2025-26 season.

From this time–if a parliamentary ban doesn’t get to put the boot in first–, EPL clubs will no longer be able to accept football shirt sponsorship from betting firms.

In many ways, by kicking the ball down the road, it’s a typical English “fudge” that ignores the sporting zeitgeist and certainly, it would seem, the wishes of nearly three-in-four football fans in England and Wales, who have expressed “concern” about the level of gambling sponsorship in the game, according to a just-released survey by the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA).

The FSA questioned 10,000 footie fans in their annual survey on the state of football in the two Home nations; 73 percent came down against gambling advertising in their beloved sport.

“This poll confirms that the overwhelming [number] of fans don’t want the beautiful game tarnished by advertising for addictive and harmful products,” a campaigner told iGamingFuture.

High Hit in Low Countries

This week both Holland and Belgium announced stringent new measures against gambling advertising in their nations.

The Belgians have effectively imposed a blanket ban. Dutch sanctions are less stringent but still tough, nonetheless.

In Holland gambling operators will be unable to advertise in pretty much all traditional mediums–TV, radio, newspapers, magazines–and in public spaces, such as billboards and bus shelters.

However, under the new regulations of their Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) gambling authority, Dutch betting firms will be able to continue marketing in the online gaming space and video streaming and social media environments.

But only under ‘strict conditions’.

Addiction and Enforcement

“The purpose of the ban is to protect vulnerable groups, including young adults, against gambling addiction,” affirmed the KSA.

“[We warn] permit holders not to push the boundaries. If the KSA encounters obvious violations, it will immediately take enforcement action.”

Belgium, for its part, has effectively ended all forms of betting and gaming advertising, including sports sponsorships, in the nation.

Despite the wave of gambling advertising reform surging across Europe, English Premier League clubs continue to swim against the tide.

Several elite EPL clubs, among them Aston Villa, newly-promoted Burnley and Fulham, and a wide range of lower English Football League clubs have either continued or initiated new shirt deals with gambling brands ahead of the upcoming 2023-24 season.

It would appear that, for now, the UK has still to definitively tackle the fevered red card issue of betting sponsorship of the national sport.

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