UK Gambling Expert: EPL Sponsorship Ban Will Cause Anti-Gambling Groups to Target Other Leagues, Sports

  • The EPL has decided to voluntarily ban front-of-shirt sponsorships for gambling firms
  • Dale says it’s a mistake that will lead to trouble for less wealthy leagues and sports
  • A similar measure in horseracing would lead to the death of the sport, claims Dale
Kevin Dale EPL
VSO News has spoken with UK gambling expert Kevin Dale to get his take on the Premier League ban on gambling sponsorship. [Image:]

This week, the English Premier League agreed to impose a voluntary ban on front-of-shirt sponsorship deals with gambling companies. The measure, which will come into place for the 2026/2027 season, has sparked debate within the gambling industry and beyond.

To find out his view on the issue, VegasSlotsOnline News caught up with UK gambling expert Kevin Dale, CEO of advisory firm eGaming Monitor.

Do you think the EPL has made the correct choice in voluntarily implementing the ban?

I don’t and it seems I’m in a minority for a number of reasons.

I think licensed entities should be able to advertise freely as opposed to offshore entities – if one objective is to increase the percentage of onshore versus illegal gambling then limiting the advertising exposure of legit businesses goes against the channelization objective.

Sports bodies and players need gaming companies”

Gaming companies and sports bodies, athletes, and teams fit together like hand and glove. Sponsorship is a key marketing tool and is also a gentler form of advertising. Sports bodies and players need gaming companies, especially the lower leagues and horseracing.

The big problem here is that there is always a carve out in these discussions, which undermines the moral component of the decisions. If you can afford to do it, it seems that it can happen, like with the Premier League, but if you cannot it does not, such as with other leagues and sports.

How will this EPL decision affect those other UK leagues and sports?

No sooner has this decision been taken, you will hear the anti-gambling campaigners reset their sights to other leagues, sports or advertising media. This is understandable because for them, it’s a moral or a health issue. For the sports bodies it is a moral one, but a financial one too. The problem comes when the two butt heads for real.

the sport of kings itself would die out”

The Premier League can afford it, others aren’t so lucky. League 1 takings will be more significantly impacted, if extended there, for example. The result will be higher prices for fans at the turnstiles I imagine. If it were decided to extend similar promotional or advertising bans to horseracing, then the sport of kings itself would die out… as its existence depends on the gaming sector.

In your experience, how do UK operators feel about the ban?

Probably not many are in favour of it as such but I imagine they are resigned to being blown along by the winds of change. Note that they still have many avenues open to them in the UK for marketing their brands to users, however.

Finally, can you explain a bit about the mood of the UK gambling sector currently with the white paper on gambling reform looming?

They are on a rollercoaster of emotions from apprehensive to defensive to impatient to resigned – depending on what parts of the delay they’re concerned with. Uncertainty is probably worse than the certainty of something that will curtail current freedoms or has an impact on the bottom line.

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