The future of gambling sponsorships in England’s Premier League remains hazy as the British government continues to stall the release of the Gambling Act white paper. The document is set to modernize gambling in the United Kingdom and introduce laws that are more suitable for the current age.
The Fate of Sponsorships in the Premier League Is Uncertain
Anti-gambling campaigners, however, aren’t taking the delays very well. According to them, certain changes are needed and should be introduced as soon as possible. One of the most requested amendments to the Gambling Act is the ban on gambling sponsorships in the Premier League.
Since the league is the top level of the English soccer system, banning sponsorships would be a significant change. It would mean that notable teams will lose one of their most secure sources of funding but it would also mean that British citizens will be dramatically less exposed to gambling content.
The original plan was to hear the opinions of Premier League clubs as well. The government had planned to have the soccer teams vote on whether to ban sponsorship or not. However, this vote was postponed amid shakeups in British politics. These shakeups, in turn, caused the white paper’s release to be postponed as well.
Anti-gambling Campaigners Are Unamused
Gambling with Lives, a charity supporting the families of gamblers who have taken their own lives, called the delays “disgraceful.” As reported by The Guardian, the charity’s co-founder, Charles Ritchie, urged the government to act quickly and put an end to all gambling advertising.
Annie Ashton, a British woman whose husband committed suicide after getting hooked on gambling during the pandemic, also shared her thoughts. She said that soccer, in its current state, serves as a gateway to gambling addiction. Ashton said she is disappointed that many people and clubs continue denying that.
James Grimes, the founder of The Big Step, a campaign to end all gambling advertising and sponsorship in soccer, is outraged that several clubs still inked sponsorship deals with gambling companies despite the public resentment towards such agreements. He slammed the soccer teams for being “tone deaf” and said that this was all made possible because of the notorious white paper delays.
Teams Continue Inking Deals
Meanwhile, three notable Premier League clubs have already signed new gambling sponsorship deals. The first one was Everton FC which penned a deal with the iGaming juggernaut Stake.com in early June. The deal is highly lucrative for the club but has nevertheless come under intense scrutiny by anti-gambling campaigners.
The second team to sign a sponsorship deal with a gambling operator was Bournemouth FC. Around the end of June, the club revealed a new agreement with Dafabet. Lastly, around two weeks ago, Fulham FC confirmed that it will be working together with W88.
Despite the public’s strong objections to the aforementioned deals, it is still uncertain whether the government will opt to ban such agreements.