A proposed ban on betting firms becoming the shirt sponsors of British football clubs is set to be scrapped after a government U-turn on the issue, according to The Times.
Ever since the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) launched a review of the Gambling Act in December 2020, pressure has been mounting on the government to put a ban in place over gambling-related sponsorships in football.
Following rising concerns over gambling addictions in the UK, a number of English Football League (EFL) clubs have been actively pushing for the new law to be passed and this week over 20,000 fans signed a petition for Everton Football Club to abandon its choice of a betting firm as its new main sponsor.
In April 2022, the UK’s Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) introduced a raft of new rules to limit the freedom of betting firm’s advertising activity. A ban on betting adverts from featuring sports stars and social media influencers, including teams’ official kits and stadiums in any potential campaigns will come into play in October. The overall objective is to reduce the appeal to those under the age of 18.
The BBC reported in May that a government draft paper included plans to completely ban gambling shirt sponsorships from football in Britain. However, the recent report from The Times, suggest that the government’s move will be a lot softer. The government is reportedly hoping to reach a voluntary agreement with clubs, rather than forcing their hands, and will retain the right to introduce legislation in the future if required.
The government has said it will publish the white paper as part of its review of gambling legislation soon, with the football clubs self-regulating their gambling sponsorship activity currently looking like the most likely outcome.