Excessive Gambling Promotion in EPL Despite Upcoming Sponsorship Ban

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Despite the upcoming voluntary front-of-shirt gambling sponsorship ban for Premier League clubs, a new study uncovers that the promotion of gambling is widely spread in soccer.

Earlier this year, globally recognized soccer clubs from the English Premier League (EPL) showed support for a ban on front-of-shirt sponsorships with gambling companies. The change came amid the review of the Gambling Act and sought to implement voluntary changes to the sector, avoiding restrictions implemented by lawmakers.

The voluntary gambling front-of-shirt ban was accepted starting from the 2026 soccer season. This period sought to enable Premier League clubs to gradually phase out gambling sponsorships over the next few years. But while the ban affects front-of-shirt gambling promotion, it doesn’t affect other forms of display such as sleeve or pitch-side hoardings, a move that is criticized by anti-gambling groups.

Now, the results of a new study that was led by Jamie Torrance from the University of Chester probed the visibility of financial trading, cryptocurrency, and gambling logos within televised soccer matches. Overall, the white paper analyzed 10 broadcasts from matches played during the 2022/23 EPL season, uncovering a staggering number of 20,941 logos that appeared.

Breakdown Confirms Excessive Promotion

Not unexpectedly, most of those logos were related to gambling, which represented 13,427 logos or 64.1% of the total. Some 2,236 or 10.7% were tied to gambling and cryptocurrency. Some 2,014 cryptocurrency logos were seen during the broadcasts, representing 9.6% of the total, while cryptocurrency and financial trading logos appeared 2,068 times or 9.9% of that total. Finally, 1,196 or 5.7% of the logos were related to financial trading only.

Most Gambling Logos Seen in a Single Match: 3,522. A further breakdown of the results revealed that front-of-shirt gambling logos appeared 1,075 times, representing only 6.9% of the gambling logos or 5.1% of all logos combined. Most gambling logos seen during broadcasts, the study says, appeared on pitch-side hoardings. The new white paper identified pitch-side hoardings as the most frequent gambling marketing location that presented 52.3% of gambling logos. Only 3.4% of the gambling-related logos included additional information regarding gambling harm, confirms the study.

Looking at soccer teams, the study identified that most gambling-related logos appeared for a match between Chelsea and West Ham, a total of 3,522. This result makes a staggering 37 logos appearing for every minute of the game, reveals the new study.

On the other hand, the match between Nottingham Forest and Arsenal saw the least number of gambling logos, a total of 219. In comparison to the game between West Ham and Chelsea, this result translated to only two individual gambling logos per broadcast minute for the match.

This disgusting level of gambling advertising around football stadiums is a national shame and shows why removing the ads from shirts is nowhere near enough,

SpokespersonThe Big Step

More Legislative Changes in Future

A representative of The Big Step, a group that urges soccer clubs to discontinue sponsorships with gambling operators, that was recently cited by The Guardian, explained that the study reaffirms how widely spread gambling advertising is via soccer stadiums.

The spokesperson warned that the saturation of gambling logos via match broadcasts can push not only fans but players, as well as children to gamble. The Big Step’s representative urged lawmakers to implement changes and stop gambling advertising in soccer.

The study's findings have raised concerns about the pervasive nature of gambling promotion in soccer, even with the impending ban on front-of-shirt sponsorships. While the voluntary measures are a positive step, critics argue that the ban fails to address other forms of gambling promotion, such as pitch-side hoardings and sleeve displays. Anti-gambling groups, including The Big Step, emphasize the need for more comprehensive actions to protect vulnerable individuals from the influence of gambling advertising.

As the debate over the impact of gambling promotion in soccer intensifies, it remains to be seen whether regulatory authorities will heed the calls for stricter measures and work towards curbing the extensive reach of gambling advertisements within the sport.

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