A national fan-led campaign is urging football clubs in the UK to stop signing sponsorship agreements with gambling operators.
The campaign group, called Footballers Supporters Against Gambling Adverts, includes recovering problem gamblers, as well as families affected by suicides related to gambling. It has so far filed over 20 petitions and is now hoping to gather more than a million voters’ signatures in order to encourage football clubs across the UK to cease their existing partnership deals with gambling companies and make a promise to cease future sponsorship agreements with such operators.
An official statement of the Footballers Supporters Against Gambling Adverts reads that the harmful presence of gambling is felt extremely intensely in football, which is one of the most popular sports in the country, if not the most popular one, and often lures young, first-time gamblers into the vicious circle of serious losses they cannot afford. Reportedly, the strong link between gambling and football has doomed thousands of people to a lifetime of addiction.
As Casino Guardian previously reported, on July 4th, the English Premier League (EPL) addressed football clubs, asking them to take action and adopt a voluntary ban on gambling sponsorship deals on their shirts in order to avoid potential Government intervention and stricter action against the sector.
Gambling Sponsorship Agreements Still Used by Top-Tier Football Clubs Despite Warnings
Half of the top-flight football clubs in the 2021/2022 season had a gambling company as a shirt sponsor. Reportedly, some of the clubs, such as Newcastle United F.C., are likely to secure a replacement for their gambling sponsors after the upcoming season. Crystal Palace F.C. revealed that it dropped its shirt betting firm sponsorship deal, while others, such as Bournemouth and Everton both recently signed new shirt sponsorships with gambling operators.
Some of the gambling companies that were present as shirt sponsors of EPL teams over the 2021/2022 season included Hollywood Bet, Fun88, SpreadEx Sport, and Sportsbet.io.
The English Premier League has been supportive of proposed voluntary action that would see clubs drop gambling operators as sponsors over a 3-year period. However, in order to take place, these changes would need 14 of the 20 clubs to support them through a vote.
As Casino Guardian already revealed, the UK Government has been preparing the white paper on its review of the UK Gambling Act 2005, which is expected to establish some plans to tackle potential gambling harm. The White Paper had to be published on July 21st, but it was delayed once again – this time because of the ongoing political turmoil in the country that saw a number of Ministers resign, followed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself.
Recently, some Members of Parliament have noted that although the White Paper was ready to publish, the Government will not proceed any further while Boris Johnson acts only as a caretaker Prime Minister.