White Paper to be published soon

UK Gov. reportedly nearing agreement with Premier League on voluntary gambling front-of-shirt sponsorship ban

Reading time 2:21 min

The UK government is reportedly close to reaching a final agreement with the Premier League, which would see gambling sponsors’ names taken off the front of soccer shirts. 

With the gambling White Paper expected to be published in the coming weeks, the review is not expected to propose banning gambling sponsorships of clubs by law. Instead, the BBC has been told the plan is for the Premier League to agree voluntarily to changes to their shirts. 

The plans were largely agreed upon by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson before he stepped down, and leave the way open for gambling companies to continue their involvement with football. They are still expected to be promoted in Premier League stadiums, and also on other parts of club shirts.

Boris Johnson

Eight of the 20 Premier League clubs display gambling firm names on the front of their shirts, though they are banned from junior replica kits. It is believed top-flight clubs are yet to vote on the proposed voluntary ban, notes the cited source.

Last month, Aston Villa's fan consultation group met CEO Christian Purslow after the club was reported to have signed a deal with Asia-based betting firm BK8. It later issued a statement saying “the commercial reality is that to teams outside the top six, such sponsors offer clubs twice as much financially as non-gambling companies.”

The Premier League has previously said that “a self-regulatory approach would provide a practical and flexible alternative to legislation or outright prohibition.”

The English Football League (EFL), which is sponsored by Sky Bet, has previously said any outright gambling sponsorship ban for its 72 members would cost clubs GBP 40 million a year.

Campaigners for a wider ban say gambling sponsorship in football has normalized the industry, and that tighter regulation is needed to protect children and other vulnerable groups.

The Betting and Gaming Council, which represents the industry, said the "overwhelming majority" of the 22.5 million people in the UK who bet each month, do so "safely and responsibly." It added the "rate of problem gambling remains low by international standards at 0.3% of the UK's adult population - down from 0.4% the year previous".

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said: "At the moment, we are probably the country with the most liberal gambling laws in the world." He is part of the All Party Parliamentary Group on gambling-related harm, which has been lobbying the government for tougher protections.

He said betting company names need to come off football shirts entirely to "stop thousands of people wandering around as advertising."

Back in January, UK Gambling Minister Paul Scully said that the government is “putting the finishing touches” to the much-awaited white paper on gambling regulation and making final decisions ahead of publication, which he said at the time was only “a matter of weeks away.”

Scully called the planned gambling review “a real opportunity” to make sure the UK finds the right balance for its industry and to build the country’s status “as a world leader in gambling policy.”

His remarks were part of his speech at the BGC’s Annual General Meeting. The MP further said that the white paper would not be “the final word on gambling reform.” Instead, it will be followed by consultations led by both the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and the Gambling Commission, in an effort to keep the industry engaged “as policies are refined and implemented.”

Leave your comment
Subscribe to our newsletter
Enter your email to receive the latest news
By entering your email address, you agree to Yogonet's Condiciones de uso and Privacy Policies. You understand Yogonet may use your address to send updates and marketing emails. Use the Unsubscribe link in those emails to opt out at any time.