The UK government is currently in a heightened state of chaos, which is causing a delay in the release of its updated gambling laws. Although it might not include a forced ban on gambling sponsorships in sports, English Premier League (EPL) teams are reportedly ready to agree to a voluntary ban.
The UK is trying to push as large a wedge as possible between sports betting and sports. It’s working as gambling opponents continue to paint all-things-gambling negatively.
EPL clubs have to overwhelmingly support the idea of a voluntary ban for the league to implement. Although they were going to meet and potentially vote on the idea, the clubs delayed any decision because of the political turmoil in the country.
The concept of a forced ban was a topic that MPs discussed for months before the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) decided it wasn’t necessary. Instead, it wanted to work with EPL teams on a voluntary ban that is now close to launching.
There will still be a meeting of the minds later this month to discuss whether the ban is viable. However, according to the EPL, the organization won’t hold a vote until September. The clubs may have already made their decision, though, as The Times reports that a majority of the teams are in favor of a voluntary ban.
EPL Teams Support Sponsorship Ban
Some 14 of the 20 clubs agree that the idea has merit. However, if things don’t change between now and the time, the EPL holds its vote, that’s enough for the league to implement the ban.
Currently, seven top-flight teams have front-of-shirt sponsors in the gaming industry. Two teams, Fulham and Nottingham Forest, have not released information on who their main shirt sponsors will be for the upcoming season.
The ban will most likely extend only to front-of-shirt sponsorships. Most teams want to hold onto sleeve sponsorships, which are less intrusive and might not cause an uproar with regulators and gambling opponents.
EFL Teams Could Lose EPL Support
As the arrangement is currently structured, the ban would apply only to EPL teams, not to English Football League (EFL) clubs. Seventy-two in the league participate in the Championship, League One, and League Two leagues.
The EPL gives EFL clubs financial assistance through parachute and solidarity payments every season. Of this assistance, 64 clubs receive solidarity payments.
However, they may lose some of that revenue. As EPL teams lose high-paying sponsorships, they expect to lose a combined income of £5 million to £10 million (US$6 million to $12 million) per season. As a result, they could use that as justification for reducing their EFL payments.
The UK government’s white paper on gambling won’t arrive until the government finds a new prime minister, as well as other ministers who resigned. Following the elections, the new arrivals will want to have a role in finalizing the new gambling laws. Because of this, both the white paper and any EPL decision are still likely months away.
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