The Premier League’s move to ban gambling sponsorship from the front of matchday shirts is a “significant acceptance of the harm caused”, an anti-gambling campaign group has said.
After extensive consultation between the Premier League, its 20 clubs, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, a decision has been made for the league to become the first in the UK to take such action to voluntarily reduce gambling advertising.
Eight current Premier League clubs have gambling companies as their front-of-shirt sponsor.
However, the move will only come into effect at the end of the 2025-26 season.
It is also understood that gambling brands can continue to feature in other areas, which include shirt-sleeves and on advertising hoardings, beyond the 2025-26 campaign.
And The Big Step – a campaign group led by people harmed by gambling – has now called on England’s top flight to go one step further and banish gambling advertisement completely.
“Today’s announcement is a significant acceptance of the harm caused by gambling sponsorship,” said James Grimes, founder of The Big Step campaign.
“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.”
Premier League clubs will be allowed to secure new gambling sponsorship for the front of shirts until the ban commences, the PA news agency understands. Current sponsorship deals with gambling companies can remain in place for the next three years, too.
Grimes continued: “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.
A statement from the Premier League read: “The announcement follows an extensive consultation involving the League, its clubs and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as part of the Government’s ongoing review of current gambling legislation.
“The Premier League is also working with other sports on the development of a new code for responsible gambling sponsorship.
“To assist clubs with their transition away from shirt-front gambling sponsorship, the collective agreement will begin at the end of the 2025/26 season.”
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “I welcome the decision by the Premier League to remove front-of-shirt sponsorships by gambling companies.
“The vast majority of adults gamble safely but we have to recognise that footballers are role models who have enormous influence on young people. We want to work with institutions like the Premier League to do the right thing for young fans.
“We will soon bring forward a Gambling White Paper to update protections for punters and ensure those who are at risk of gambling harm and addiction are protected.”