football

UK Football Gambling Deals Mark Record Decline

September 02, 2020

- Grant Whittington

Source: pxfuel.com
Football sports betting sponsorships in the UK are for the first time in several years showing a decline in numbers. In terms of the actual numbers, there are currently only 19 top-level football clubs making use of a gambling operator in terms of leading sponsorship. Top-level football clubs are those included in the Premier League and the EFL Championship.

Among those few elite clubs currently still major-sponsored by gambling operators, is the Reading Football Club. Reading Club enjoys a partnership alongside casino operator Casumo and as such, dons the operator’s logo on their shirts. Casumo is fully regulated by local regulator the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).

Decline A Major Concern

The latest footballing sponsorship figures mark a worrying 43% overall decline in the number of top-league British clubs currently sponsored by gambling operators. This percentage represents the lowest betting sponsorships percentage since roughly 4 years ago, i.e. the 2016-2017 English football season. Mentioned season saw a total of only 18 football teams sponsored by gambling operators, which at the time, meant that a meagre 41% of all elite football clubs enjoyed sports betting sponsorship deals in the country.

On the other hand, during the 2014-2015 season, being only a year prior, at least 27 football clubs were sponsored by local betting companies. What this then effectively means for the current English football season, is that the 2020-2021 season is the first season to see a decline in operator sponsorship numbers in all of 7/8 years.

By contrast, during the last three football seasons, betting sponsorships accounted for at least half of all elite football club sponsorships in Britain. 

A Volatile Up-And-Down

When looking back to last season, i.e. the 2017-2018 season, only 50% of all elite clubs enjoyed the support of gambling sponsorships. This means that a total of 22 clubs were during that season in partnership with a gambling-operator sponsor. This as opposed to the 26 teams enjoying similar partnership deals during 2018/2019. And Even though still considerably low, the 2019-2020 season’s 27 clubs (61%) represented a peak in terms of actual numbers.

In order to sketch a complete picture, it should also be pointed out that only a decade ago, only 10 EFL and English Premier League franchises wore gambling operator branding and logos on their official game shirts. And this number pretty much remained the same all throughout those seasons that followed – only declining an even lower number of 8 sponsorship deals in total by 2012.

The numbers hit an all-time low during the following season, when in 2013-2014, a shocking number of only 5 top-division English football clubs stood in partnership with gambling operators.

Disparities In Opinions

It should also be mentioned that the increase in sponsorships that would follow over the course of the next 8 or so years, wasn’t an increase welcomed by everyone. In fact, the improvement was met with concerns voiced from several sides – not excluding from the side of the UK’s House of Lords.

Just this summer, in fact, said House’s members insisted that sports teams competing in the English Premier League be outright prohibited from wearing any logo by any gambling operator on the fronts of their official team shirts. But that wasn’t to be all proposed by the House’s committee commission, as further demands included a complete discontinuation of all gambling sponsorships of Championships teams by at least 2023.

But it’s a view not at all shared by the English Premier Football League. The league is in fact gravely concerned about the financial ramifications that such a move is bound to bring about. Betting sponsorships aren’t optional for the survival of EFL clubs, said the league, but instead, said sponsorships are vital and an industry lifeline

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