This comes at a time when the UK government is set to review its gambling laws, with a much-awaiting white paper outlining its plans set to be released this month.
Both the UK government and football clubs are against any hard restrictions when it comes to advertising, but would rather address directly concerns over gambling’s visibility via various voluntary measures.
While the Premier League’s plans entail ditching sponsors on the front of the team’s shirts, they are still keeping gambling logos on their shirts’ sleeves. There are currently no plans to remove pitchside hoardings, where betting company logos are on continuous display throughout the matches.
A study carried out by the University of Stirling has found that pitch side adverts are one of the biggest conduits for gambling branding during a match. It accounts for 38% of the locations where the sponsors are spotted.
The study also found that logos were more than 500 times more visible during a match. “Action on shirt sponsorship is a welcome and iconic acceptance of the harm caused by gambling ads but in isolation is incoherent and loses impact,” said James Grime. The Big Step is a campaign group established by James Grimes, a former gambling addict, with the goal of persuading football clubs to sever their associations with gambling sponsors.
“For every advert on a shirt, there are hundreds more flashing around the pitch – each one is a threat to my recovery from addiction.”
During this study, 31 various gambling brands were referenced across only five matches analysed. It was concluded by Dr Richard Purves from the University of Stirling that shirt sponsorship only made up for a small part of it.