Published: December 13, 2020

New UK gambling review could ban sports sponsorship

DCMS leading process to reform Gambling Act 2005 with significantly tightened legislation.


  • Half of Premier League club shirts carry gambling sector branding
  • Last season top-flight clubs earned UK£69.6m from betting industry kit sponsorships
  • EFL says clubs in second, third and fourth tiers earn UK£40m a year from gambling industry


An imminent and broad review of UK gambling laws launched by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will consider banning sports sponsorship.

The long-mooted review, which will look at reforming the Gambling Act 2005, was launched 8th December with an initial call for evidence.

EFL backs ‘vital’ betting sponsorships ahead of government review

Officials at DCMS, which is leading the process, are set to take aim at almost every area of UK gambling law, according to the Guardian.

The review will cover marketing and advertising, purportedly including the possibility of new measures to curb sports sponsorship deals that include branding on soccer club shirts.

Half of the 20 teams in the Premier League, English soccer’s top tier, have gambling brands as a main or sleeve sponsor for the 2020/21 season. During the 2019/20 season, Premier League clubs earned UK£69.6 million (US$89 million) from shirt deals with betting firms, with most clubs also holding smaller partnerships with companies from the gambling industry.

In the second-tier Championship, 15 of the 24 teams rely on betting companies for shirt sponsorship and the English Football League (EFL), which oversees the three professional tiers below the top flight, could be hardest hit by any law changes.

In October, the EFL released a statement insisting revenue generated from the gambling industry for the clubs under its watch ‘is as important now as it has ever been’ and could be vital in surviving the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

The statement added: ‘With over UK£40 million 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 is as important now as it has ever been, particularly given the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which is leaving many of our clubs living on a financial knife edge.’

The Guardian’s report says other areas up for review by the DCMS include limits on online stakes, prizes and ‘spin speeds’; affordability checks; new product testing; tackling the parallel market; legal redress for wronged punters; and a mandatory levy to fund addiction treatment.

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