Gambling sponsors could be banned from appearing on Premier League football club shirts as a result of a new government white paper.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) is set to release further details this week. However, delays to the process could mean the ban would not come into effect until the 2023/24 season at the earliest.

As nine of the 20 Premier League clubs in last six seasons on average have gambling sponsors on their shirts, the proposals would affect many. One notable club that would be affected by the move is West Ham. The East London club have a long-standing deal with gambling firm Betway and an end to this partnership could have implications for the club.

Ban on Gambling Sponsors: The New Legislation 

Ultimately, the changes to gambling sponsors and their links with Premier League football clubs come as an update to previous gambling laws. The new white paper is set to update gambling procedures and protocols, so they are more applicable to modern day football.

But the hope to move away from gambling sponsors in football comes after years of opposition from campaigner groups, who have called for gambling sponsorship in football to end. In addition, the House of Lords also put forward a proposed ban on gambling sponsors at Premier League clubs in 2020.

The UK’s Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has also taken steps by new laws to stop sports stars from appearing in gambling advertising campaigns for media, online and in print publications. This comes into place in October 2022.

Although nothing has been confirmed yet, any ban on gambling sponsors will only affect Premier League clubs from 2023. Any changes for clubs in the Championship and leagues below would take more time, allowing clubs time more to garner new revenue from alternative sponsorship. Currently, the English Football League is sponsored by Sky Bet and the organisation estimates that clubs could lose out on UK£40 million if gambling sponsors were banned from the leagues.

West Ham’s Partnership with Betway to End

One of the most long-standing Premier League club partnerships with a gambling company is between West Ham and global bookmaker Betway. The link between the two organisations began in 2015 and, following four years of sponsorship from then, West Ham and Betway extended their deal in 2019.

Since 2015, Betway has been synonymous with West Ham as its main shirt sponsor. The initial deal between the club and betting company was worth an estimated £20 million, making it West Ham’s biggest commercial deal ever.

Following the success of West Ham on the pitch in recent seasons, combined with the continued rise of Betway across the globe, the pair struck another deal in 2019. However, this renewed six-year partnership was reportedly worth £10 million a year, tripling the previous deal between the organisations and making it one of the largest current deals between a gambling sponsor and a Premier League club.

In the context of the potential restrictions on gambling sponsorships, West Ham could become the most severely affected club. Any new legislation would likely mean clubs are prohibited from branding their new shirts with gambling sponsors.

In addition, if the ban started at the beginning of the 2023/24 Premier League campaign, West Ham and Betway would have two years remaining on their current six-year partnership.

Ending such a deal early could prove costly for both parties and while other clubs may be able to start looking for alternative sponsors leading up to any possible ban, West Ham may be tied with Betway until the 2023/24 season regardless.



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