The UK Minister for Sports and Digital (DCMS), Nigel Adams, has emphasised that ‘football’s link with betting’ will shape a major part of the government’s ‘imminent review’ of the 2005 Gambling Act.
The minister, interviewed by BBC Sport, detailed concerns that football is ‘too dependent’ on gambling sponsorships, as the DCMS Minister outlined the government’s agenda for UK sports.
Adams told BBC Sport: “It’s right that in the new review of the Gambling Act, we will look at all these issues. I’m sure the link between gambling and football will form part of the review, which is going to be quite imminent.”
It was also revealed that Adams had held conversations with FA Chief Executive Mark Bullingham in the wake of criticism of football governance for allowing FA Cup matches to be streamed on bookmaker websites as part of a third-party media agreement.
A new review of Gambling Act will be undertaken as the Conservative government vows to ‘make Britain the safest place to be online’, a commitment pledged during last December’s 2019 General Election campaign.
Speaking to the FA, DCMS has informed football executives that gambling sponsorships will be reviewed by the government evaluating whether to categorise betting in the same criteria as tobacco prohibiting all forms of club sponsorship and marketing.
The 2019/2020 football season has seen all listed UK betting firms revise their sponsorship portfolios to promote responsible gambling and social responsibility directives.
Currently half of all Premier League clubs carry a betting sponsor on their matchday shirts and the English Football League (EFL) is title sponsored by Sky Bet.
Nonetheless, focusing on utilising sponsorship to enhance social responsibility, Sky Bet has reconfigured its EFL sponsorship by enforcing responsible gambling promotion across all 72 competing clubs on matchday shirts and stadia, in addition to investing £1 million towards the education of gambling harms for EFL clubs, athletes and communities.
As part of its ‘Bettor Commitment’ mandate, FTSE-listed GVC Holdings would donate all active football sponsorships to UK charities, no longer participating in sponsorships as a marketing discipline.