March 20 – With the imminent release of the gambling review whitepaper – the culmination of the government’s long-awaited review into the Gambling Act 2005 – a new study reports on the gambling industry’s trajectory as front-of-shirt sponsors of Premier League clubs.
The gambling industry has become prolific main shirt sponsors in recent years not only as a direct result of changes in government legislation but also the flux of other industries and their affection by consumer interest, foreign agendas, and sector growth.
Eight clubs in the current season are sponsored by gambling companies but the rules on this could change following the release of the whitepaper, leaving many teams scrambling around for new sponsorships if front-of-shirt deals with the industry are banned.
The introduction of the Gambling Act 2005 allowed bookmakers to “advertise all forms of gambling in any media, just like any other product, albeit with specific controls”. This ultimately led to a huge increase in the number of deals.
The early gambling sponsor pioneers of the Premier League included the likes of 888.com, 32red.com, bet24.com. The number of sponsorships with gambling brands escalated quickly and at the peaks in the 2016-17 and 2019-20 seasons, half of all clubs in the Premier League’s had front-of-shirt deals.
Premier League clubs appeared to have initially agreed to a voluntary betting shirt sponsor ban in an effort to avoid an outright one. However, new shirt deals done by Bournemouth, Everton, and Fulham with betting operators for the 2022-23 season suggest the entente cordiale was shortlived, or that they were keen to cash-in before regulators slammed the door shut on this revenue stream.
The study, by InsightX, investigates how other sectors interacted with the rise of gambling brands such as the decline of alcohol sponsorship, the absence of crypto brands as front-of-shirt sponsors, in addition to the brief appearance of the payday loan and personal finance sector in the league.
To read the full study click here.
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