October 27 – The English Football League (EFL) has reacted quickly to defend its record on gambling sponsorships following reports that gambling sponsorship in the UK could be banned.
With the EFL’s clubs desperate to maintain income streams during the covid pandemic and find new sources of investor support and finance, any threat to future income streams could impact on that fund raising.
Fears are that the UK government’s upcoming review of the 2005 Gambling Act could result in the kind of blanket bans on football sponsorship that Italy and Spain are facing.
The EFL has SkyBet as a principal sponsor while EFL clubs earn an estimated £40 million per season from gambling sponsorships.
“The association between football and the gambling sector is long-standing, with a collaborative, evidence-based approach to preventing gambling harms of much greater benefit than that of a blanket ban of any kind,” said the EFL statement.
“Through a highly visible awareness and education campaign, the EFL and Sky Bet work together to promote responsible gambling, with players from all three divisions wearing sleeve badges to encourage supporters to consider how they gamble and 70% of the sponsor’s matchday inventory dedicated to safer gambling messaging.”
The EFL emphasised the near £500 million it pays in taxes as well as having had its “its core income stream of ticket sales turned off indefinitely without any indication of a roadmap that will allow the safe return of supporters to stadiums, despite other sectors being able to welcome people through their doors.”
“The inconsistency is frustrating and perplexing,” continued the statement.
“Our approach in respect of Gambling sponsorship is under constant review and the League will also contribute to any call for evidence by the Government as we seek to protect an important and vital income stream for our membership in a time of financial crisis.”
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