Gambling and Football: Undeniable Tie and How the Government is Reacting

Football is the most popular sport worldwide and it is extremely popular in parts of Europe, Asia, South Africa, and America. Now, when it comes to gambling, many parts of Europe are big fans of sports betting. And so, it only makes sense that sports betting and football go hand-in-hand when it comes to entertaining many sports fans around the world.

The sports betting industry continues to grow as more and more countries start to embrace it and legalize it. There are just so many sportsbooks out there, especially during this digital age. There are now many online sportsbooks that you can choose from and you can check this website if you want to know which online bookies are the best right now.

We can surely say that football has affected the sports betting industry in so many ways, but sports betting has also affected the football industry in some ways. The English Football League or the EFL did say that the gambling industry contributes around 40 million pounds to the league and the clubs during the pandemic, and this contribution is very important to them.

Sportsbooks operators would sponsor football clubs and events and this helps advertise betting, for sure. It was in 2002 when a bookie has started to sponsor a top-flight team. This was Betfair sponsoring Fulham and this was a move that mainly started sponsorships between betting firms and football leagues. During that time, Betfair was only offering exchange betting as the company only launched its own sportsbook in 2011.

It was around 2017 when half of the top-flight teams are all sponsored by betting companies. The main reason why betting firms do this is to get their names out there. The names of these betting firms are shown on the shirts of the athletes and it’s a great marketing strategy for them.

However, recently, the UK gambling commission has said that they are aiming to ban betting sponsorship that is shown through the shirts of the athletes. For now, they intend to look at the impact of this to the gambling industry of the United Kingdom and they are looking to phase out Championship club shirts with betting firm logos by 2023.

For this season of the Premier League, 17 out of the 24 clubs involved are sponsored by bookmakers. Many of the campaigners who are fighting against gambling addiction believe that this is a factor that helped normalized gambling within football.

The gambling committee also said that there should be no advertisement on gambling in or any sports field, grounds, or venues. However, this will be strictly implemented by 2023. The restrictions on shirt sponsorship and advertising will still be allowed before then.

The committee understands that this could have a great effect on smaller clubs and this is why they are giving the clubs the time to prepare. The committee said, “We therefore 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.”

When it comes to the EFL, however, the League is saying that the government should instead work on preventing gambling problems rather than banning the allowing of sponsorship from betting firms. The EFL said in a statement, “The association between football and the gambling sector is long-standing and the League firmly believes a collaborative, evidence-based approach to preventing gambling harms that is also sympathetic to the economic needs of the sport will be of much greater benefit than the blunt instrument of blanket bans.”

The EFL is known to have betting partners, but things are different from the Premier League. The Premier League has only said that they would be a welcome participant for the review of the Gambling Act.

Richard Masters, the chief executive of the Premier League, has said that gambling needs stronger governance. Masters said that it has always been up to the individual clubs involved in the Premier League whether they’d like to have relationships with the betting firms. He also said in an interview once that he believes that the partnership of betting clubs with betting firms has nothing to do with making people more vulnerable from betting or gambling addictions.

Surely, the UK Gambling Committee only really aims to regulate the sports betting industry in the country as much as they could. They want to make sure that children and minors are safe from this. The chairman of the committee, Lord Grade, only has this to say:

“Most people who gamble, enjoy it safely. However, gambling related-harm has made the lives of two million people miserable. It leads to hundreds of people each year taking their own lives, leaving families and friends devastated.”

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