If you've watched a Premier League game on TV in the UK in the last decade, you will have undoubtedly been met with such phrases as 'bet in play now', 'latest live odds' or '£50 free bet' during the game. There have been a number of steps made in recent years to distance the gambling industry from the world of football however. This kind of advertising is now banned, for example, while from October this year, betting advertisers will also be prohibited to use prominent figures from the world of football or other celebrities, in their campaigns.
Although these steps do address what has become a significant issue, one avenue which is still being exploited by gambling companies is that of shirt sponsorship. Behind only perhaps the renaming of a stadium, the middle of a teams' jersey is prime advertising real estate. As the infographic below shows, in no other major European league is this being taken advantage of more than in the Premier League. This season, almost half (8) of all top-flight clubs are sponsored by a company in the gambling industry. This compares to 2 in France's Ligue 1, and just 1 in Spain's La Liga. Italy's Serie A and Germany's Bundesliga have none.
In Italy, any kind of gambling-related football sponsorships have been banned by the government since 2019 (prompting significant pushback from Serie A at the time and during the pandemic). Now, the UK looks set to follow suit after all clubs have reportedly agreed to a voluntary stop on gambling sponsorship deals for the front of their shirts. The change will likely be phased in gradually, and is expected to exclude the less prominent sleeve sponsor position.