A Ban on Gambling Sponsorship Could be Heading for UK Sports
by Glenn Baird - December 4, 2020
The tide of change within the UK gambling industry is beginning to push hard, with a revised Gambling Act looking increasingly likely. However, despite the likelihood of this overhaul to UK gambling legislation there are calls for change now.
High up on that list is an end to gambling sponsorship in UK sports, closely followed by an online stakes limit.
A rigorous review of UK gambling legislation will begin next week, with serious consideration to be placed on banning the use of gambling sponsorship in sport.
The review will begin on Monday and will look to update parts of the Gambling Act that many campaigners and critics feel are no longer relevant to the world that we live in today.
- The main points of consideration will include:
- Limits on online stakes.
- Tough affordability checks.
- A testing regime for new products.
- A sports sponsorship ban.
- New powers to tackle the parallel market.
Whilst those in favour of tighter regulations will be pleased with the proposed depth of the review, including up to 50 MPs who have voiced their concerns over the increasing prevalence of problem gambling, casino operators will worry that the UK market runs the risk of becoming non profitable.
A large focus of the review will be online slots. The victory that campaigners led against Fixed Odds Betting Machines has recently turned its attention to the online world. Essentially, everything that was criticised about FOBMs can take the same form in an online slot game, with the added worry that they can be accessed more readily on mobile devices.
It is very likely that this review will recommend a similar limit of, perhaps, £2 per spin on such games.
However, the headline grabber in this review is possibility that sports sponsorship could come to an end.
Just this week we saw a Premier League side shake hands on a deal with a large betting company, proving that the gambling industry is still making inroads into UK sports sponsorship. The big worry for sport would be that decrease in revenue that this could bring, at a time when fans have been locked out of games and many smaller clubs and teams run the risk of going bust if further money streams are cut.
The other concern with such changes and tighter restrictions is the viability for smaller operators to exist in the UK. We have already seen Betsson pull all but one of their brands from the UK market, how many more will follow? This could in turn leave only a few remaining operators in the UK with less opportunity for diversity and competition.
Regardless of what decisions are made changes are coming to the UK and operator and consumers will need to brace themselves for that change.