PM Boris Johnson ‘Will Likely Support’ Gambling Shirt Sponsorship

According to an article in The Daily Telegraph, Prime Minister Boris Johnson ‘will likely support’ a ban on football shirt sponsorships related to the gambling industry.

Radical changes

The paper, which cited ‘close to Downing Street’ sources, notes that the senior cabinet of Johnson is prepared to move ahead with radical changes to the UK gambling industry.

Dent on Club accounts

Yet the government is mindful of the effect and timing of a football sponsorship ban, which would leave a ‘£ 110 m-a-year dent’ on Premier League and Championship club accounts, notwithstanding its funding.

DCMS review

The senior cabinet of the PM has maintained that all changes in the gambling sector will be guided by the evidence provided by the ongoing review by DCMS. By late summer or fall, the government’s 2021 agenda will see DCMS launch its ‘white paper’ of guidelines for the UK gambling market.

Common-sense findings

Labour MP Carolyn Harris, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Gambling Harms, claimed that one of the common-sense findings of the study will be a sponsorship ban.

As a certain result, a ban on jersey sponsorships by gambling brands has been pitched as the mandate carries cross-party and, according to campaigners,’ two-thirds of public support.’

Sports rights levy

Alternatively, an option to introduce a ‘sport rights levy’ to be paid to governing bodies by betting companies was ‘informally discussed’ after previous attempts fell foul of pre-Brexit European legislation, as the government recognises that advertisement curbs would boost professional sports funding issues.

Perception issue

Speaking last year on the ‘Unpicking the Terms of the UK Gambling Act Review’ webinar, Brigid Simmonds, chair of the Betting and Gaming Committee, stressed that there is a’ perception issue ‘with gambling brands linked to sports clubs’ agreements.

Simmonds indicated that sports and betting operators can have a positive effect together, but it is important to reassess firms that are not involved in the UK market.

Last fall, the leadership of the English Football League wrote to the DCMS stressing that lower league football clubs were on a ‘financial knife-edge dealing with the consequences of the pandemic of COVID-19.’

Blanket ban warning

The EFL endorsed improvements to the football betting relationship, but warned the government not to join European equivalents in enforcing a blanket ban on football sponsorships.

Supporting betting sponsorships, the EFL highlighted the response of operators to social responsibility issues, such as the donation by League sponsor Sky Bet of 70 percent of its matchday inventory to encourage safer gambling and compulsive behaviour education.