No More Gambling Sponsors for EFL Bolton Wanderers FC

It has been a day since a report in Sportsmail stated that the UK Government is readying the axe for gambling sponsorship on the front of soccer shirts, and one soccer club already took a stance to support the upcoming restriction. Surprisingly, it is from the English Football League (EFL).

No Gambling Sponsorships

The Bolton Wanderers announced today it would be severing its ties with gambling sponsors, extending the scope of the expected front-of-shirt display ban to any on-site provisions at the stadium. The club also vowed to avoid commercial partnerships and sponsorship deals with companies operating in the gambling industry.

To justify the club’s decision to stay away from any involvement with the gambling industry, Bolton Wanderers chair Sharon Brittan pointed to research that had revealed that gambling addiction patterns exhibited by 1.4 million adults and at least 60,000 youngsters aged between 11 and 16.

Problem gambling ruins lives and we’ve taken this stance to show our support for those who are suffering from a betting addiction. We as an industry must do more and through our work with Bolton Wanderers in the Community, Bolton Wanderers Football Club will support outreach programmes for those who experience gambling problems.”

Sharon Brittan, Chair, Bolton Wanderers FC

Gambling sponsorship is a sensitive topic for the football league that has a gambling sponsor, Sky Bet, but Bolton Wanderers officials said they would respect their existing obligations with regards to being part of the league without engaging in any promotion outside of these obligations.

We recognise that some people do want to bet and also that the league has a commercial partnership with a gambling company in place and we are respectful of this. However, we will not take part in any activity to promote gambling outside the existing EFL contractual requirements.”

Neil Hart, CEO, Bolton Wanderers FC

Historically, the Sky Bet League One club from the Greater Manchester area had links with Betfred, as the gambling group featured as an official front-of-shirt sponsor for the EFL Championship 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.

Prior to Betfred, Bolton engaged in 2009 with 188Bet in a 2-year deal to display the sports betting brand on the front of 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons’ shirts. The deal with the bookie replaced a 20-year shirt sponsorship association with Reebok.

The decision to sever ties with the gambling industry comes as a pre-emptive action from the EFL League One club, following reports linked to the ongoing Gambling Act 2005 review that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will impose the front-of-shirt restriction to respond to public and political pressure from increasing gambling addiction.

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