The age of gambling sponsors’ logos on Premier League jerseys appears to be coming to an end. According to a recent report from BBC Sport, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will be including the ban in a white paper on gambling reform that’s due to be published within a few weeks.
The ban on gambling jersey sponsorships was originally recommended by by a House of Lords select committee back in 2020, and is said to be a key feature of the DCMS report. It’s also a move that would impact ten of the Premier League’s 20 clubs.
As is so often the case with government affairs, there is apparently a fair amount of back room negotiation taking place between operators and government officials. That could push the ban back to the 2023-2024 season, but it won’t push off the team’s inevitable break from a very reliable source of revenue in the form of gambling operators paying to have their logos on the league’s highly visible jerseys.
Though Premier League officials have been arguing that a self-regulating approach was the best route, lawmakers will be imposing new rules on them no matter what happens.
While the removal of gambling logos on jerseys is a gut punch for team owners, it’s not nearly enough for anti-gambling activists. James Grimes, the leader of an activist group called The Big Step touched on the subject in an interview with the BBC saying, “This is welcome, but to remove gambling from shirts while allowing pitch-side advertising, league sponsorship and club partnerships to continue would be massively incoherent. Every young fan should be able to watch their club – in the ground and on TV – without being bombarded by ads for gambling, which we know harms millions, and takes hundreds of lives every year.”
Premier League officials have steadfastly pointed out that that there is no proven link between jersey sponsorship and problem gambling, but to no avail.