Following allegations that the DCMS is attempting to ban such partnerships as part of the 2005 Gambling Act review, Bolton Wanderers FC of the EFL League One has detailed plans to terminate all relationships with the betting and gaming business.
The restriction is primarily aimed at Premier League clubs, with nine out of 20 clubs in the English top flight now partnering with betting and gaming companies.
Although reformers have advocated for a more comprehensive overhaul of sports’ betting relationships, legislators are now hesitant to extend the prohibition to English Football League clubs due to concerns about lower league clubs’ financial viability, a source told Sportsmail yesterday.
Despite this, Bolton Wanderers has stated that it will remain “respectful of the EFL’s commercial partnerships and that of other clubs,” while also stating its own opinion on betting sponsorships.
Sharon Brittan, Chair of Bolton Wanderers, said: “Problem gambling ruins lives and we’ve taken this stance to show our support for those who are suffering from a betting addiction.
Brittan added: “We as an industry must do more and through our work with Bolton Wanderers in the Community, Bolton Wanderers Football Club will support outreach programmes for those who experience gambling problems.”
Bolton Wanderers’ previous involvement with the betting and gaming business included naming Betfred as an official front-of-shirt sponsor for the EFL Championship 2017/18 season, as well as becoming the first Premier League team – alongside Wigan Athletic – to collaborate with 188Bet.
Meanwhile, in 2017, William Hill and BD Stadia (BD Sport Group) negotiated a partnership that included Bolton’s stadium – then known as the Macron Stadium – as well as five other teams in the bookmaker’s campaign portfolio.
Gambling addiction charities
Instead of forming collaborations with the betting and gaming business, Bolton will attempt to create connections with charities and organisations that specialise in the treatment of gambling addiction.
Neil Hart, Bolton Wanderers CEO said: “We recognise that some people do want to bet and also that the league has a commercial partnership with a gambling company in place – and we are respectful of this.
“However, we will not take part in any activity to promote gambling outside the existing EFL contractual requirements. This means that we will not provide match day betting kiosks or enter into any new agreements with gambling companies.”
The ban has been in the works for a while, having been dubbed “the most likely outcome” of the study earlier this year and receiving support from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his cabinet.
Premier League clubs have been preparing for the change since at least March, with teams being advised to avoid advertising betting and gaming companies on social media in February.