UK Government May Remove Gambling Sponsors from Soccer Shirts
Expert Elizabeth Dunn predicts a voluntary ban on front-of-shirt sponsorship by gambling companies, with potential impact on lower league clubs.
It has been reported that the UK government is close to finalizing an agreement with the Premier League to remove the names of gambling sponsors from the front of soccer shirts. Elizabeth Dunn, a Partner at Bird & Bird and a leading expert in gambling and sport regulatory and commercial matters, spoke with Gambling.Re about this topic.
While there is nothing official about the format of this agreement that the UK government is discussing with the Premier League, Ms. Dunn believes that it is more likely for the Premier League to agree on a voluntary ban on front-of-shirt sponsorship by gambling companies on its member clubs, rather than seeing such a ban being made into law by the UK government.
According to her, if a voluntary ban is put in place, it would not be the primary concern for the gambling industry in the UK. Instead, UK gambling operators should focus on the other restrictions that the UK government may place on gambling advertising as part of the Gambling Act Review. Ms. Dunn thinks that these potential further restrictions are more likely to have an impact and should be the real concern.
Nonetheless, when asked about the potential impact of any voluntary ban on front-of-shirt sponsorship, Ms. Dunn anticipates that the clubs most affected would be the lower league clubs. This is because historically, gambling sponsorship has been crucial for revenue generation for lower league clubs. However, there has been no indication that the EFL is contemplating a similar ban and it’s very unlikely, precisely because it would be very costly for its member clubs.