The Big Step urges Premier League to vote against gambling sponsorships

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
The Big Step, a campaign that aims to end all gambling advertising and sponsorship in football, has released an open letter calling for the Premier League to end gambling sponsorship ahead of a vote on the topic at an upcoming shareholders meeting this week.

Currently, none of the “big six” clubs in the League – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – have gambling sponsorships.

However, seven of the remaining 14 do.  

In the open letter, The Big Step expressed doubts about the possibility of self-regulation.

“Relying on clubs to self-regulate has not worked so far, the consequence being 700 gambling adverts in one Premier League match and the same brands appearing in kids sections on club websites, in matchday programmes, and in sticker books,” read the letter.

The letter continued by addressing the delay of the review of the 2005 Gambling Act, which The Big Step said was “delaying the inevitable”.

“We are saddened that the Gambling Act review white paper has been delayed yet again,” it stated, “but the government are delaying the inevitable.

“We are in no doubt that one government one day will do what multiple European countries such as Spain, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands have already done and restrict the obscene levels of gambling marketing in football.”

The Big Step emphasised that the aim was not to prohibit the presence of gambling in football, but to lessen its presence in advertising.

“We are not trying to stop your fans from having a bet on football, nor are we trying to completely end the relationship between gambling and football,” the group continued. “Gambling should quite rightly be tolerated and available for adults should they wish, but it should not be promoted, especially in a globally adored league where young people make up a quarter of the audience.

“We would happily put forward representatives from the below list of signatories to meet with you to discuss this further.”

The matter of sponsorship in football will be discussed at a shareholders meeting later this week. All 20 clubs in the League will have a vote, with a two-thirds majority of 14 votes needed to successfully amend the current rules.

According to an unnamed source who spoke to The Times, there is an expectation that the vote will be successful.

The Times also reported that the vote could be delayed until September when the new UK prime minister is in place, after current prime minister Boris Johnson stepped down earlier this month.

Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter