As things stand today, 9 of the 20 teams in the Premier League are sponsored by a betting company.
Betting sponsorships are all over the modern sports scene in the UK, and this has drawn harsh
criticism from those both inside and outside the industry. So much so that many have suggested such
sponsorships and partnerships be outright banned. A quick Google search you will be inundated with
sites like this that compare the huge amount of betting sites available in the UK.
There are many reasons why the UK should strongly consider banning betting sponsorships in sports,
so today we’re going to consider a few of the most important. From the effect on young people to
the normalisation of betting in general, there’s a lot to cover.
Let’s get started.
1.Children and young people
Perhaps the main reason that campaigners are pushing to ban betting sponsorships in sports is the
effect that they have on young people. Indeed, this has been one of the main areas that the UKGC
has sought to regulate the betting industry as a whole. It must not make any effort to appeal to the
Of the 1.5 million people who regularly play and watch football in the UK, a huge portion are made
up of children and young people. A staggering 44.7% of 11- to 15-year-olds, and 31% of 5- to
10-year-olds, regularly play football in the UK.
Football, of course, isn’t the only game in town, but it is by far the most popular sport, and perhaps
the one with the greatest betting sponsorship problem. Young people may be exposed to betting ads
as much as every ten seconds in the average Premier League game.
There can be no doubt that this influences the minds of young people, especially when they see their
favourite players in ad campaigns for the betting companies. If current regulation requires that
gambling advertisements not appeal to young people, it’s easy to see why it would make sense to
ban these sponsorships.
2. Problem gambling
On a broader level, one of the most fundamental issues with these sponsorships is how they
ultimately play into problem gambling. This is a huge issue in the UK. Problem gambling affects
around 0.5% of the population, with a further 2.2 million at risk from gambling addiction and related
problems. Problem gamblers can take a long time to seek help, ending up in massive debt before
they seek help.
Seeing these constant advertisements and endorsements from big sports teams naturally has the
desired effect of inducing and persuading people to gamble. Betting companies would not pay the
hefty price tags for the deals if it didn’t ultimately end up increasing their profits.
Current awareness campaigns and disclaimers are not adequate to protect consumers. And there can
be no such disclaimers in brief ads seen during football games or other sporting matches as a result
Though the EFL and the Premier League argue there is no causal link between problem gambling and
sponsorships, they, obviously, are concerned with the money it will cost them if such partnerships
are banned. It is the entire culture which perpetuates problem gambling.
3. Normalisation of betting
Finally, we have the broader, more abstract social issue that these sponsorships create: the
normalisation and glamorisation of betting and gambling. Obviously, betting and gambling should
not be seen as entirely negative. But take the treatment of advertising for alcohol and tobacco.
Tobacco is not allowed to advertise on any level whatsoever, and alcohol advertising is limited in
scope. Yet we do not outlaw the thing itself, we just encourage moderation and responsibility.
The prevalence of sports and betting partnerships means that the practice is normalised, and the
importance of responsible gambling is not emphasized. This influences everyone, even those who do
not bet themselves, into thinking of the industry in a way that ultimately favours the industry itself.
It’s hard to deny the connection between sports betting sponsorships and the more underlying issues
of problem gambling in this country. One of the big challenges we face in attempting to address
problem gambling is a lack of awareness and understanding. Many people simply do not understand
the extent to which problem gambling is an issue, partly because these kinds of sponsorships
normalise betting on the whole