Anti-Gambling Group Pens Warning to EPL Amid Gambling Advertising Debates

  • The Big Step said that it is not directly telling the league to halt gambling ads
  • The upcoming vote was delayed as a result of political turbulence
  • Two EPL teams, Fulham and Everton, recently agreed to deals with gambling partners
  • Teams would reportedly agree to a ban, as long as certain criteria are met
West Ham player
Anti-gambling group The Big Step has urged the EPL to vote to ban gambling advertisements. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Concerns with current plans

The Big Step, an anti-gambling campaign directed at soccer teams, published a letter from over 100 people affected by gambling harm ahead of the English Premier League’s September vote on banning gambling advertisements.

relying on clubs to self-regulate has not worked so far”

The letter boldly states that “relying on clubs to self-regulate has not worked so far,” among other concerns. It also highlights the problems with gambling advertisements, referencing one match in which 700 advertisements were shown.

The group clarified that it is not “trying to completely end the relationship between gambling and football (soccer),” but feels that “it should not be promoted, especially in a globally-adored league where young people make up a quarter of the audience.”

Future of advertising in the EPL 

The EPL’s September deadline came as a response to changes in the political climate. Prime minister Boris Johnson resigned from his post, prompting a slew of other politicians to leave office, thus leaving the future of gambling in limbo. 

An upcoming white paper should help set the course for gaming in the United Kingdom, though that, too, is not expected until September.

the government agreed to let the league oversee its resolution

Regulating gambling advertisements has been a prominent issue for a few years. The government agreed to let the league oversee its resolution, assuming that it could pressure the necessary 14 pro-ban votes out of the 20 teams, hence why the letter says that the league is relying on “self-regulation.”

The letter also expressed despondency with the delay of the white paper, which holds the keys to many hot debates. 

Teams’ responses

Despite the supposedly imminent ban, recently-promoted side Fulham just agreed to a club-record sponsorship with betting firm W88. That deal almost certainly rules out one of the required 14 votes. A historic but Fledgling club, Everton, also recently agreed to a massive deal with online crypto-based casino Stake.com— count another vote out.

In contrast, Crystal Palace nixed their deal with W88, their front-of-shirt sponsor last season, back in May. 

EPL teams would reportedly agree to a ban, but with stipulations

EPL teams would reportedly agree to a ban, but with stipulations, one of which would be a three-year transition period. If this is true, teams like Fulham would be within their rights to bring in revenue in the present and change sponsors in the future.