In response to the House of Lords Gambling Select Committee’s report published yesterday, the English Football League (EFL) has insisted that the government does not impose a blanket ban on gambling sponsorships, citing concerns over the financial repercussions that the move could have on its clubs.
The ‘Gambling Harm – Time for Action‘ report recommended that there needs to be a ban on gambling sponsorships and venue advertising. However, the EFL has questioned the potential ramifications that such a ban could have, highlighting the financial effects that the global pandemic has already had in reducing the sustainability of professional football.
As reported by the Daily Mail, an EFL spokesperson stated: “The Covid-19 pandemic represents perhaps the biggest challenge to the finances of EFL clubs in their history.
“With over £40m 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.
“The League firmly believes a collaborative, evidence-based approach to preventing gambling harms that is also sympathetic to the economic needs of sport will be of much greater benefit than the blunt instrument of blanket bans.
“It is our belief that sports organisations can work with the Government and the gambling industry to ensure partnerships are activated in a responsible fashion.”
If the recommendation by the House of Lords Gambling Select Committee is implemented, then non-Premier League clubs will have until 2023 to find new, non-gambling sponsors.
The report read: “We think they should be given time, perhaps three years, to adapt to the new situation.
“They would not be allowed in that time to enter into new sponsorship contracts with gambling companies, but any existing contracts could continue until they terminate and clubs would have time to seek alternative sources of sponsorship.”
Gambling companies have become prevalent in the football industry in recent years with half of Premier League teams in the 2019/20 season having a gambling company as their main shirt sponsor, as do 17 of the 24 teams in the Championship, which is also sponsored by Sky Bet.