The English Football League (EFL) has defended its partnership with the British-based gambling company Sky Bet, despite coming under fire. This debate was instigated following on from the UK government announcing they will be reviewing the 2005 Gambling Act.
Focusing on safe and responsible gambling
After the Sunday Times newspaper published a report that suggested gambling sponsorships would be terminated, the EFL released a statement backing its current standing with Sky Bet. In particular, they highlighted that their betting advertising and sponsorships are being conducted in a responsible manner.
The organisation pointed out that 70% of their matchday betting inventories consist of responsible messaging, while clubs and players across the EFL have been promoting gambling awareness by educating the public on problem gambling and how to recognise it.
In their statement, a spokesperson said: “The association between football and the gambling sector is long-standing, with a collaborative, evidence-based approach to preventing gambling harms of much greater benefit than that of a blanket ban of any kind.”
Betting provides essential funding to clubs
Not only could a blanket ban lead to gambling arising elsewhere (in unsafe conditions), but also the EFL could lose an essential portion of their funding. The betting sector currently generates £40 million per season for their clubs.
The organisation also expressed their frustration with the government for not providing financial support to their sector and failing to recognise the extent to which they promote safe and responsible gambling.
“Our approach in respect of Gambling sponsorship is under constant review and the League will also contribute to any call for evidence by the Government as we seek to protect an important and vital income stream for our membership in a time of financial crisis,” the EFL finished.