Drop in gambling sponsorships in top-tier English football

The number of gambling shirt sponsorships has fallen by almost 30% since last season.
The number of gambling shirt sponsorships has fallen by almost 30% since last season.

The number of gambling sponsorships in the Premier League and Championship has dropped for the first time since 2013.

UK.- The amount of gambling shirt sponsorship in the English Premier League and Championship has fallen for the first time in seven years.

The number of teams in the top two divisions of English football that have a gambling firm as their main shirt sponsor has fallen to 19, down from 27 (61 per cent of clubs) in the past 2019/20 season.

It’s the first time since 2013 that the number has dropped from one season to the next. In 2013, the number of sponsorships fell from eight to five. 

The current total of 19 means that 43 per cent of clubs in the two top divisions have gambling firms as their main shirt sponsors. That’s the lowest number since the 2016/17 season, when 18 clubs (41 per cent) had betting firms as their main sponsors. 

It’s also the first time since 2016/17 that gambling firms accounted for less than half of shirt sponsorships in the two top divisions. 

In the 2017/18 season, gambling companies were the main sponsors of 22 clubs (50 per cent). That rose to 26 clubs (59 per cent) in 2018/19 and 27 clubs (61 per cent) in 2019/20.

Teams with deals in place for the new season, which starts on Saturday September 12, include Burnley (LoveBet), Crystal Palace (W88), Fulham (Dafabet), Leeds United (SBOTop), Newcastle United (FUN88), West Ham United (Betway), Wolverhampton Wanderers (ManBetX) and Bristol City (MansionBet).

The presence of so much gambling sponsorship in sport had become a subject of controversy, with the UK’s House of Lords proposing that it should be banned. 

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) in an interview with Focus Gaming News said that he could understand why non-bettors were tired of seeing so much similar sports betting promotion and that operators should do more to vary advertising.

The English Football League remains strongly opposed to any ban on gambling advertising in football.

It said: “With over £40million a season paid by the sector to the League and its clubs, the significant contribution betting companies make to the ongoing financial sustainability of professional football at all levels as important now as it has ever been.

“The League firmly believes a collaborative, evidence-based approach to preventing gambling harms that is also sympathetic to the economic needs of sport will be of much greater benefit than the blunt instrument of blanket bans.

“It is our belief that sports organisations can work with the government and the gambling industry to ensure partnerships are activated in a responsible fashion.”

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