Premier League clubs voluntarily ban front-of-shirt gambling sponsorship

West Ham front-of-shirt sponsor Betway
Image: Silvi Photo/Shutterstock

Clubs in the English Premier League have collectively agreed to voluntarily withdraw gambling sponsorship from the front of their matchday shirts.

According to a league statement, the agreement amongst the 20 top-flight clubs follows an extensive consultation period between the league, its clubs, and the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport as part of the government’s ongoing review of current gambling legislation.

The UK gambling industry is still waiting for the publication of the government white paper concerning the two-year review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

Coming into effect at the end of the 2025/26 season, the withdrawal of front-of-shirt gambling sponsorship means the Premier League has become the first sports league in the UK to undergo such an action voluntarily to reduce gambling advertising.

Currently, eight teams in the Premier League – Bournemouth, Brentford, Everton, Fulham, Leeds United, Newcastle, Southampton and West Ham – have a gambling company as their front-of-shirt sponsor and will have to change to comply with the new rule.

These existing gambling front-of-shirt sponsorship deals can still be honoured until the end of the 2025/26 season and new deals can be agreed to so long as they don’t go past the set deadline.

However, the league did not state if clubs will still be able to have gambling sponsorship on the shirt sleeve and if gambling companies could still appear on advertising boards in stadiums.

Reacting to the Premier League’s statement, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “I welcome the decision by the Premier League to remove front-of-shirt sponsorships by gambling companies.

“The vast majority of adults gamble safely but we have to recognise that footballers are role models who have an enormous influence on young people. We want to work with institutions like the Premier League to do the right thing for young fans.

“We will soon bring forward a Gambling White Paper to update protections for punters and ensure those who are at risk of gambling harm and addiction are protected.”

The presence of betting and gaming branding in football stadiums and on team shirts has caught the ire of gambling law reform advocates throughout the course of the review.

Critics have argued that these advertising practices have normalised betting in sports and exposed young consumers to gambling, and have called for a ban as a ‘common sense’ outcome.

The most recently signed betting deals are between West Ham and Betway, Southampton and and Bournemouth and Dafabet, with the first expiring in 2025 and the latter two in 2024, just in time for the phase out’s commencement.

The Premier League now follows other leagues in Europe such as Spain’s LaLiga and Italy’s Serie A that have also banned gambling companies from being front-of-shirt sponsors.