Gambling Stakeholders Could Go Shirtless in the UK
T-Shirt Sponsorships May Have to Go
As lawmakers remain committed to re-regulating the gambling industry in the United Kingdom, as part of the ongoing Gambling Review launched by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s team, The Daily Telegraph has learned that there is a good chance the prime minister would support banning t-shirt sponsorships between sports teams and gambling firms.
The measure will focus on soccer as the main target, the media claims to cite unnamed sources close to the matter. The measure, which is the broadest overhaul of the gambling industry in the state, will bring around changes that may prove unpalatable to stakeholders but that many legislators consider mandatory.
Banning promotions from soccer teams’ shirts is not a new idea per se. It has been brought up repeatedly with mixed reception from stakeholders. Some have argued that the only way to do that is to give clubs enough time to look for other sponsors.
The key obstacle to phasing out such sponsorships quickly is the fact that they prove a resilient source of revenue at a time when a sport is worse affected. Not only that but even if gambling companies were to phase out their sponsorships, there were no other companies looking to support local sport.
Put this way, lack of sponsorships could force many soccer clubs to disband. Labour MP Carolyn Harris, the chair of the All-party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Harms, has backed the issue, arguing that a sponsorship ban would be a desired outcome of the review.
Send Away Sponsors, Find New Sponsors
Yet, even the government is a little hesitant. To put it this way, if sponsorships are withdrawn, sports clubs are looking at a £110-million deficit in the Premier League and Championship alone.
No other companies have expressed a desire to step up. The EPL and EFL have cautioned the DCSM last November and said that the effects of suspending partnerships would cut deep and be felt immediately by everyone.
The organizations said that they are open to see some form of stricter regulation, but advised against the models now adopted in Italy and Spain where a blanket ban on all soccer partnerships with gambling companies has been endorsed.
According to the EFL, Sky Bet, a popular sponsor, has donated 70% of its matchday inventory to encourage more responsible gambling and has spent a hefty penny on promoting awareness about the issue.
Different Ball Game for UK Gambling
The DCSM has simply responded by arguing that any decision made would be arrived at based on scientific evidence and facts. The government though has reportedly acknowledged that cutting gambling sponsorships could lead to a “sports rights levy,” the media has reported, but this issue is very unlikely to push through.
A similar levy was attempted to be introduced in the United States when leagues bandied together to ask for an “integrity fee.” Yet, betting operators are not very likely to receive a similar move by the government kindly.
Brexit also means that the gambling industry in the country would no longer fall under common European directives, but be up for the country’s lawmakers to decide what’s best for consumers. The Daily Telegraph has confirmed that Prime Minister Johnson will play a key role in the re-regulation of the industry.
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