Premier League clubs have reached a collective agreement to withdraw gambling sponsorship from the front of their matchday shirts by the end of the 2025-26 season. Although clubs will still be allowed to feature iGaming brands on shirt sleeves and LED advertising, the decision marks a significant step in reducing gambling advertising in football. The Premier League will become the first sports league in the UK to take such a measure voluntarily.
Financial Impact on Clubs
Eight top-flight clubs currently have gambling companies on the front of their shirts, a sponsorship worth an estimated £60m per year.
Clubs will be permitted to secure new shirt-front deals before the deadline, ensuring a smooth transition away from shirt-front gambling sponsorship. The decision follows a consultation between the league, its clubs, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, as part of the government’s ongoing review of gambling legislation.
Working Towards Responsible Gambling Sponsorship
The League is collaborating with other sports to develop a new code for responsible gambling sponsorship. A gambling white paper is expected to be published by the government after its review of gambling legislation.
As stated by the BBC, the UK Government did not anticipate proposing a ban on gambling sponsorship, instead aiming for the Premier League to voluntarily agree to change. The plans were primarily agreed by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson before his departure from office.
Critics argue that gambling sponsorship in football has normalised the industry and that tighter regulation is needed to protect children and other vulnerable groups. The Betting and Gambling Council claims that the “overwhelming majority” of the 22.5 million people in the UK who bet each month do so “safely and responsibly”.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, part of the All Party Parliamentary Group on gambling-related harm, said: “At the moment, we are probably the country with the most liberal gambling laws in the world.“
A Significant Step Forward
The Big Step, a campaign to end gambling advertising and sponsorship in football, stated: “Although this outcome isn’t perfect, it’s a huge step.” The organisation acknowledges the need for government action to prevent online casinos from exploiting voluntary measures, but the Premier League’s decision is a crucial move towards eliminating gambling advertising from football.