The Premier League and all 20 associated football clubs have announced on Thursday they will cease advertising gambling brands on the front of their matchday football shirts from the end of the 2025-26 season.
The decision came about following long running discussions between the Premier League and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport as the UK government continues it’s review gambling legislation.
England’s top-flight league becomes the first to make this voluntarily decision. There are no details yet as to whether lower leagues will follow, but pressure may grow to do so now that the Premier League has taken this step.
Many of the top flight teams in the Premier League have gambling sponsorship deals, estimated to collectively generate £60 million (€68m or $75m) per year. They now have until the end of the 2025/26 season to make new arrangements as gambling sponsorships on matchday football shirts is phased out.
Not all gambling will be disappearing though, as pitch-side advertising and some limited space on shirt sleeves will be able to continue.
The Premier League has agreed to work with other high profile sports to develop a code for gambling advertising called the “responsible gambling sponsorship.”
Campaigners welcome decision
Gambling With Lives, a campaign group who have been pushing to remove gambling sponsorship on football shirts, welcomed the decision. They want to see the ban go further and cover Britain’s football lower leagues.
Gambling With Lives told iNews: “Today’s announcement is a significant acceptance of the harm caused by gambling sponsorship. No gambling ads are seen more than those on Premier League shirts, worn by billions around the world.”
“But just moving logos to a different part of the kit while allowing pitch-side advertising and league sponsorship to continue is totally incoherent.”
“Without government action on all forms of gambling ads in football, at every level, online casinos will exploit any voluntary measures and continue to market their products through our national sport.”
“Although this outcome isn’t perfect, it’s a huge step. Just over three years ago, there were nearly 30 clubs in the top two divisions with a gambling advert on the front of their shirt – with today’s announcement, we are getting closer to when that will be 0. This undeniable progress shows that the hard-fought argument – led by people with lived experience – has been won.”
“The government and the sport itself now need to wake up to the reality that gambling ads are unhealthy, unpopular and will be kicked out of football. Delaying that moment is risking the health and lives of another generation of young fans.”