English Football League against gambling sponsorship ban

Viktor Vangelov | Published 6 Jul 2020, 2:35 p.m.

There have been quite a few initiatives in the UK regarding gambling regulations and generally speaking, these have been restrictive. UK has been regarded as one of the most liberal markets regarding gambling and online gambling, but in order to curb problem gambling and gambling harm, a series of restrictive measures have been introduced.

The latest initiative comes from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, i.e. a report that was released by the department. The report was discussed at the House of Lords and they gave a series of measures. The Lords call for drastic changes of gambling regulations. The DCMS also criticised the UK Gambling Commission.

One of the proposed measures is to ban gambling sponsorships in sports. If that initiative is accepted, betting companies will no longer be allowed to key sponsors of football teams which will seriously shake the EFL, considering that a lot of teams are sponsored by betting companies.

Gambling sponsorships are a significant source of revenue

The EFL and its representatives are worried and urge the Government to reconsider the decision. They feel that a ban on gambling sponsorships will have a detrimental effect on many teams and the league as a whole.

And that is hardly surprising, the figures are rather indicative. A total of 17 clubs out of 24 clubs that compete in the second-tier league, the Championship, feature gambling and betting companies on their shirts. Moreover, the division itself is sponsored by Sky Bet. Representatives of the football league feel that the gambling and betting operators financially support the competitions and the teams and this support is essentially for many of them. Without these sponsorships many teams will face financial hardships.

The current situation and the fact that teams gather less funds due to the fact that the matches are played without audience. The EFL points out that more than £40 million per year are paid by gambling and betting operators in sponsorship funds.

However, this does not mean that the league is against responsible gambling or that it opposes measures that are aimed at decreasing gambling harm. Sports organisations should be working together with the Government and identify and implement measures that are mutually beneficial.

The EFL points out that certain clubs are already facing serious problems and this would be an additional blow that will force many clubs into administration. It was announced last week that Wigan Athletic went into administration and it looks like they would be relegated.

Californian tribes get more time to acquire signatures

The situation on the other side of the Atlantic is quite different. Pretty much every week we bring news regarding events in the US where in many states there are initiatives in place to legalise sports betting, as well as other forms of gambling. A number of Californian tribes are looking to get sports betting legalised in the state. The tribes have been given an extension which means they now have more time to try and gather the needed signatures that will enable them to put the question on the ballot in 2022. There was an initiative to put the issue on the ballot this year, but that failed.

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