Will the Premier League Ban Sports Betting Shirt Sponsors?

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The Premier League and the sports betting industry go hand in hand. It’s the biggest league in the world, so it makes sense that bookmakers are never too far away.

But that could be set to change. A year ago, it was announced that betting companies would be banned from using Premier League stars in their adverts, and there have also been calls to ban betting adverts during live coverage.

Campaigners seemingly aren’t happy with those limitations, and we could soon see a future where sportsbooks are also banned from sponsoring Premier League shirts.

Betting Companies on Football Shirts

Beverages, fast food, travel companies, and fashion brands are usually drawn to the Premier League. It’s a prestigious and globally renowned league, so it only makes sense. But most shirt sponsors are gambling companies.

In the 2022/23 season, all of the following teams have gambling companies as their main sponsor:

  • Bournemouth – Dafabet
  • Brentford – Hollywoodbets
  • Everton – Stake
  • Fulham – W88
  • Leeds United – SBOTOP
  • Newcastle United – Fun88
  • Southampton – Sportsbet IO
  • West Ham United – Betway

That’s 8 teams from a total of 20. No other industry is represented more than twice.

And that’s just the main sponsors. 

Manchester United have an official wine partner, spirits partner, vision partner, coffee, partner, and dozens more. They also have a betting partner, as do all other clubs.

You will find these additional sponsors on merchandise, matchday programs, billboards, social media posts, and everything else that the clubs use to communicate with their fans.

Rob Newell/CameraSport/Getty Images.Jarrod Bowen celebrates scoring for West Ham in their victory [Online]. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2023/mar/16/european-round-up-west-ham-thump-10-man-larnaca [20 March 2023].

What’s the Issue?

The betting industry pumps a lot of money directly into the Premier League. And most of that money isn’t even coming from UK-focused companies.

You’ve probably heard of Betway and Stake. But when was the last time you used SBOTOP or W88? These brands are still valid, legitimate betting sites, but they are mainly focused on other markets.

There have been concerns about where this money is coming from and what it means for one of the nation’s biggest exports, but most of the issues are centred on underage gamblers and problem gamblers.

Campaigners are worried that the constant exposure to betting brands could encourage high-risk and problematic behaviour. 

Will it Change?

The UK government has made a number of changes in recent years and it has been suggested that betting sponsors will be next in the firing line.

The Premier League itself has also acknowledged the issue. It has been suggested that there might be a vote on shirt sponsorships, and one that could allow them to partly tackle the issue without completely banning gambling advertising.

After all, while the prevalence of betting sponsors is hard to ignore, it’s equally hard to ignore just how much money they generate for the league. Stake and Betway, for instance, are said to pay £10 million a year for their respective sponsorships, and much more is pumped into billboards, TV ads, endorsements, and partnerships.

Change is inevitable, but it’s unlikely that the gambling sector and the Premier League will be parting ways any time soon.

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