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Sponsorship & Marketing

Gambling critics target Premier League stadiums after shirt sponsorship ban

Featured image credit: James Kirkup on Unsplash

Featured image credit: James Kirkup on Unsplash

Anti-gambling campaigners have set their sights on sports betting marketing in Premier League stadiums after England’s top football competition announced gambling companies’ logos would be banned from the front of matchday shirts.

A Premier League statement issued on Thursday said all clubs have collectively agreed to prohibit gambling sponsorship from the front of matchday shirts at the end of the 2025-26 season. It has become the first sports league in the UK to take such a measure voluntarily in order to reduce gambling advertising.

The announcement follows an extensive consultation involving the Premier League, its clubs and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as part of the Government’s ongoing review of current gambling legislation. The Premier League said it is also working with other sports on the development of a new code for responsible gambling sponsorship.

A total of eight clubs currently have shirt sponsorship agreements in place with gambling operators including Aston Villa, Everton and Brentford. A number of teams also have partnerships with operators that do not include shirt branding or logo placement. Logos and branding appear across stadiums from pitchside hoardings to betting kiosks.

It is believed that betting sponsorship is worth £40m annually to English football clubs.

James Grimes, the founder of The Big Step campaign to ban gambling advertising from football, said: “Today’s announcement is a significant acceptance of the harm caused by gambling sponsorship. No gambling ads are seen more than those on Premier League shirts, worn by billions around the world.

“But just moving logos to a different part of the kit while allowing pitch-side advertising and league sponsorship to continue is totally incoherent.

“Without Government action on all forms of gambling ads in football, at every level, online casinos will exploit any voluntary measures and continue to market their products through our national sport.

“The Government and the sport itself now need to wake up to the reality that gambling ads are unhealthy, unpopular and will be kicked out of football. Delaying that moment is risking the health and lives of another generation of young fans.”

The UK’s Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), the sector’s leading trade group, said it welcomed the decision and looks forward to a new code on responsible gambling sponsorship in sport in the upcoming White Paper.

A spokesperson said: “Regulated betting and gaming provides the country’s best loved sports with funding, including the English Football League and its clubs, which receive £40m annually.  

“We are encouraged by the latest figures from the Gambling Commission that showed the rate of problem gambling among UK adults is 0.2 per cent – down from 0.4 per cent the year previous.

“We continue to work closely with Government to deliver the Gambling Review which is a further opportunity to raise standards and promote safer gambling.”