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Concern as almost half of Premier League shirts feature betting companies this season

13 August 2021
Football gambling online smartphone laptop 0

Just under half of Premier League shirt sponsors are betting companies this season, prompting concern that clubs aren't taking gambling-related harms seriously.

Research by CARE released as the 2021-22 season kicks off shows 9 out of 20 teams have a betting ad on their strip, the same proportion as in 2018.

The study also found that a total of 19 clubs partner with betting firms in some way, meaning ads will appear on official channels such as websites and stadium noticeboards, if not on strips.

CARE's James Mildred discusses gambling sponsorship and football on GB News

Leicester City has the most gambling sponsors this season with four seperate betting partners followed by Spurs, which has three. Only one club in the Premier League, Norwich City, appears to have no official links to betting firms, after scrapping BK8 as its main sponsor in June.

By contrast, the number of betting-related shirt sponsors in the Championship has dropped significantly. Just 6 teams host a betting company on their strip this season compared to 17 in 2018. However, 15 clubs out of 24 still partner with betting firms in some way.

Responding to the news, CARE's Chief Communications Officer James Mildred said:

“The continued prevalence of gambling-related advertising in the Premier League is dispiriting. There is growing concern about the level of problem gambling in the UK, fueled by an industry that bombards sports viewers relentlessly with offers, without due warning of the risks. Football clubs are fully aware of this problem, yet many seem to be doing little to curb those responsible.

“The fact that close to half of top tier clubs have gambling ads emblazoned across the chests of players is especially hard to stomach. There has been no change to the extent of this advertising in 4 years. The presence of ads on shirts sends a message that gambling is harmless fun. For many thousands of families blighted by addiction, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Premier League bosses should follow the lead of their contemporaries in the Championship who have broadly moved away from including betting companies as main club sponsors. It’s time bosses truly stepped up for vulnerable fans by showing betting companies the red card.”
James Mildred CARE

The news comes after a reported rise in gambling-related harms during the coronavirus pandemic. A study in May this year suggested that online gambling soared in 2020, with regular gamblers more than six times more likely to gamble online.

GamCare, which operates the National Gambling Helpline, said it had received 41,000 calls for help in the year to the end of March, a 9% increase on the previous year.

Last year a House of Lords report found that there were a third of a million problem gamblers in the UK, with young people being most at risk.

The report also found that 60% of gambling companies' profits come from the 5% of customers who are already problem gamblers, or who are at risk of becoming so.

Mr Mildred continued:

“It is time we had a serious public debate about the gambling industry’s relationship with football. We have an epidemic of problem gambling in the UK. We have to question whether the Premier League and other footballing authorities are doing enough to protect vulnerable fans.”
James Mildred CARE


Notes for Editors:

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CARE is a well-established mainstream Christian charity providing resources and helping to bring Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy and practical caring initiatives.

Helpful resources

Data tables for betting sponsorship

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While for some, gambling is just harmless fun, for a significant minority it causes genuine devastation. Our vision is to see laws passed that will help protect vulnerable problem gamblers.

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