Pressure on UK football clubs to end Gambling Sponsorship Deals

While sports betting is flourishing in Montreal, it’s a worrying time for the UK gambling industry.

Placing a single bet on sport was legalized in Montreal last year. Will you be placing bets on Canada in the 2022 World Cup? Other countries are going in the other direction and strongly regulating their gambling industry. That’s happened in Spain, Germany and the Netherlands and the UK is following suit.

One area in which there may be a clampdown is in the sponsorship of football teams by gambling companies. The English Football League is sponsored by Sky Bet. They say if the deal had to end, it could cost clubs £40 million. 

Finding a replacement wouldn’t be as easy as when English Premier League clubs look for a new sponsor. Recently, Crystal Palace ended their deal with gambling company WM88 and soon found a replacement in Cinch.

However, both Everton and Bournemouth have gone in the opposite direction. New lucrative deals with gambling companies have been signed. That must be frustrating for the UK government who are due later this year to release a White Paper detailing proposed changes to the 2005 Gambling Act, the portal British Gambler reported.

That was due to be released at the end of 2021. Then it was put back to July but the resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has further delayed it. A new Prime Minister won’t be announced until September 5 and no new policy announcements won’t be made until then.

In the meantime, there will be movement on the subject of gambling sponsorship in sport. The Premier League clubs are holding a meeting on July 26. A voluntary ban on sponsorship deals with gambling companies will be discussed. 

Whether a vote will take place on that day isn’t known. With those new deals that have been recently announced, voting in favor of a ban doesn’t look too likely.

Fans of clubs are already upset about such sponsorship deals. There’s a petition with over 30,000 signatures calling for Everton to cancel their new deal with

There are many football supporters who have seen their lives affected by gambling. This month sees seventy people walking over 53km to spread awareness of the problem. They are walking from Manchester City’s stadium to Everton’s ground. 

The walk is in memory of Ryan Myers, who committed suicide when aged just 27. On the back of the walkers will be the number 409. That’s the number of gambling addicts who commit suicide each year. Among the walkers will be families who have seen loved ones end their lives because of their gambling problem.

They’ll be disappointed by the news of the delay of the White Paper. Imagine their feelings if the Premier League clubs vote not to ban sponsorship deals with gambling companies.

The walk is the idea of the Big Step campaign group. They have already called for gambling sponsorship of football to end. They have been supported by 27 UK and Irish clubs. That doesn’t of course include the seven Premier League clubs that will have front-of-shirt sponsorship from a gambling company in the 2022/23 season.

Another area of concern in the UK is over gambling advertisements. There are calls to reduce the number that can be seen and heard in the UK. From October, sports stars, reality TV personalities and social media influencers will be banned from appearing in gambling related advertisements.

While sports betting is flourishing in Montreal, it’s a worrying time for the UK gambling industry.