Gambling review delay allows Premier League football clubs to strike sponsorship deals | Gambling
Families who have lost loved ones to gambling addiction have reacted angrily after the government’s decision to delay its gambling white paper allowed three Premier League football clubs to sign new sponsorship deals jerseys with betting companies.
The new deals mean that eight of England’s top football clubs now have game sponsors on the front of the shirt, while others have separate deals for sleeve sponsorship, logos on training kits and stadium advertising.
Charles Ritchie, co-founder of the charity Play with lives, which supports and campaigns for families affected by gambling-related suicide, said: “We must end all gambling advertising. The white paper’s delays are shameful.
Annie Ashton, from Leicester, whose husband Luke killed himself in April last year after starting to play during lockdown, said: ‘Football is a way to develop gambling addiction for so many people. It’s shocking that clubs continue to blatantly ignore this.”
Ministers announced in December 2020 that they were reviewing gambling laws, including sports sponsorship, but have delayed the long-awaited white paper four times. The latest delay was confirmed after Boris Johnson announced his resignation as prime minister.
The review included reviewing online betting limits, improving online player protection and gambling advertising. A potential government ban on game logos on sports shirts has dragged on for more than a year and a half, but it is understood ministers are now considering a voluntary ban by football clubs.
Premier League clubs were due to vote this summer to ban shirt front sponsorship, but that has been postponed. Premier League chief executive Richard Masters blamed the ‘political pause’ for the delay. It is understood that any bans would be phased in gradually.
Carolyn Harris, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling Damages, said: “The blocking of the white paper has encouraged gambling companies to seek new deals with football clubs. It’s opportunistic on the part of game companies, who know the writing is on the wall. I’m disappointed because we’re talking about a problem that takes lives.
Three Premier League clubs, Everton, Fulham and Bournemouth, have agreed new shirt deals with betting operators for the 2022-23 season. Everton announced their “club record deal” with casino and sportsbook platform Stake.com in June. It has been reported that the deal is worth over £10million a year and will run until at least the end of the 2024-25 season.
The brand will appear on both men’s and women’s game jerseys. The club ended its previous major partnership with online car retailer Cazoo to complete the new gambling deal. Stake’s global ambassadors include Canadian rapper Drake and Manchester City striker Sergio Agüero.
Bournemouth also unveiled its deal with global betting brand Dafabet in June. He said the deal would provide “crucial revenue”. Fulham announced their sponsorship deal with W88 last month. The club said: “The presence on the shirt will allow the W88 brand to benefit from the global exposure of the Premier League, broadcast to a global audience of over 3 billion people.”
The other five clubs with shirt sponsorship deals are Brentford (Hollywoodbets), Leeds United (SBOTOP), Newcastle United (Fun88), Southampton (Sportsbet.io) and West Ham United (Betway).
There are growing concerns about the gambling industry’s links to football. Stars who have promoted game companies include Alan Shearer, Robbie Savage, Jose Mourinho and Harry Redknapp, but under new advertising rules to be introduced from October game companies will no longer be allowed to use celebrities likely to appeal to those under 18.
The industry previously agreed to a ban on betting advertising during live sport which was introduced in August 2019. Under the ban, advertisements must not be shown on television from five minutes before the start of a live sporting event until five minutes after it ends, before 9 p.m. While accepting these restrictions on advertising, the gaming industry has campaigned against a potential crackdown on the sector in government scrutiny. The Observer revealed in May how some of Britain’s betting giants were quietly lobbying Treasury officials against a crackdown on the industry.
James Grimes, founder of The big step campaign, which is campaigning to end gambling sponsorship in football, said: “Gambling sponsorship has never been so unpopular at clubs and it’s a tone deaf from football clubs. ‘announce these new offers.’ He said gambling companies would want to be tied to football for as long as possible because it is “a lucrative and impactful way to market their products”. Matt Zarb-Cousin, the director of Clean up the game, said the white paper on gambling should be published as soon as a new prime minister is appointed. He said, “The delay has given game operators a great opportunity not only to maintain the current level of promotion, but also to expand it.”
A Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport spokesperson said: “We are undertaking the most comprehensive review of gambling laws in 15 years to ensure they are fit for purpose. the digital age.
“As we have always said, we will publish a white paper as part of a review of gambling legislation.”
A spokesperson for the Betting and Gaming Council, which represents some of the UK’s biggest betting companies, said: ‘The regulated betting and gaming industry provides some of the country’s most popular sports with vital funding. , including the English Football League, which receives £40m. .
“The government has previously said research has not established a causal link between exposure to advertising and the development of problem gambling.”