English Football League (EFL) Chairman Rick Parry has taken a stance against suggested betting sponsorship bans in the UK.
In particular, Parry expressed concerns that banning such partnerships could impact lower league clubs financially.
Various groups in the country have spoken out against betting sponsorship bans, plus other measures they deem to protect players better.
“There’s no evidence to suggest that banning sponsorship will help to reduce the prevalence of problem gambling”
In the midst of the 2005 Gambling Act’s review, it was announced a few months ago that gambling sponsorship bans would be the “most likely outcome”.
Those in favour of a betting sponsorship ban believe that operators having close relationships with clubs can influence minors. They believe it promotes gambling habits and therefore leads to a bigger chance of developing addictive habits.
Parry, however, disputed these claims. Speaking to the Financial Times, he said that “there’s no evidence to suggest that banning sponsorship will reduce the prevalence of problem gambling.”
In addition to his above comments, the EFL Chairman said that he could make a “very good case” that betting sponsorships have not led to a problem gambling increase.
Challenging times for some EFL clubs
Most clubs in the EFL have played behind closed doors for a year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, many have missed out on ticket revenue. In the Championship alone, ticket sales had accounted for just over 20% of clubs’ revenue in the 2018/2019 season.
Men’s professional football has also been left out of the UK government’s bailout for sports in the country. A ban on betting sponsorships would, in the eyes of Parry, be “catastrophic”.
One investor in an EFL club also accused the government of being “guilty of snobbery towards football”.
Currently, over half of clubs in the Championship are sponsored by betting companies. However, QPR and Nottingham Forest will no longer sport the logo of Football Index after the platform entered administration.
Could betting sponsorships be on their way out of English football?
Betting sponsorships have received scrutiny in Britain. A group within the House of Lords called for a ban on such partnerships last summer.
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has also been vocal against betting sponsorships in football. Carolyn Harris, a member of the group, said that banning these deals would be one of the Gambling Act review’s “common sense outcomes”.
Reform groups have also claimed that a ban on betting sponsorships has approval across various parties, as well as “two-thirds of public support”.