In the midst of increased political scrutiny, the English Football League (EFL) backed its approach to betting advertising and its partnership with the UK gambling industry.
Publishing a statement on Sunday following a study by the Sunday Times stating that gambling sponsorship is going to be banned, the EFL stressed its duty to ensure that betting advertisements and sponsorships have been carried out in a responsible manner through its leagues and competitions.
The reform of gambling advertisement and sponsorship laws will be put at the forefront of the forthcoming government review of the Gambling Act of 2005, under which DCMS is facing growing pressure to impose a comprehensive ban on football sponsorships that reflects measures taken under Italy and Spain.
In a statement the EFL detailed: “The association between football and the gambling sector is long-standing, with a collaborative, evidence-based approach to preventing gambling harms of much greater benefit than that of a blanket ban of any kind.”
With 70 percent of the matchday inventory of betting committed to responsible messaging, the EFL will point to its groundbreaking initiatives with key sponsor Sky Bet, in which players and clubs across its three divisions promoted safer gaming understanding and public education of compulsive betting behaviour.
The betting industry contributes an estimated £ 40 million per season to EFL clubs of vital value, marked as crucial support for ‘clubs living on a financial knife-edge given the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic’.
In the meantime, the EFL notes that it is irritated and puzzled by government contradictions that have given no roadmap as to when clubs can allow fans to return to their stadiums safely, ‘despite other sectors being able to welcome people through their doors.’
The EFL tells the government that clubs contribute ‘almost £ 500 million annually to the Exchequer’ and are committed to meeting their financial commitments despite the indefinite shutdown of their main revenue source of ticket sales and without the financial support given to other sectors.
“Our approach in respect of Gambling sponsorship is under constant review and the League will also contribute to any call for evidence by the Government as we seek to protect an important and vital income stream for our membership in a time of financial crisis,” the EFL concluded.