The last few months have led to what could be a possible major shakeup to the UK gambling industry, following a review of the UK Gambling Act, which has introduced a number of stipulations that online gambling sites need to have in place, in a bid to help with Responsible Gambling.
What is also being mooted is a sponsorship ban in the UK for sports clubs – particularly on shirts and it has led to speculation that sport could face one of the biggest cash crises since the tobacco industry was banned from sponsoring sports clubs and sporting events.
Currently, the majority of Premier League football clubs are sponsored in some capacity by a gambling company and this makes up a considerable amount of their revenue per season, while in the majority of cases there are multi-year deals signed which guarantees a lump sum.
Leading iGaming comparison website, BingoSites has been cautious about the issue saying: “Until we know for sure what the exact details of the proposed ban are and indeed whether this will come to fruition, it is hard to speculate on exactly what might happen.
“It would all depend on how much of a role that the authorities believe sports clubs play in the ‘selling’ of online gambling companies to their audience and also how much notice that fans take.
“Ultimately, there are still a lot of ifs, buts, and maybes, though should the ban come in, there are certainly a number of burgeoning industries that could potentially replace that lost revenue.”
Will the loss of gambling sponsorship affect sports clubs by much?
When taking into account the other revenue streams that the majority of sports clubs now have at their fingertips, while a gambling sponsorship ban could lead to an initial drop in revenue and put more of a strain on their other avenues, commercially savvy clubs can overcome this.
An obvious route is via merchandising from growing global brands, which has been significantly prominent for a couple of decades, however, such as the demand for these sports, lost revenue could be made up in the increase of ticket prices, which would be sad news for fans.
Also, earnings from television rights are at the highest that they have ever been and these could only increase in the future as English competitions become more popular around the world.
What could replace gambling sponsorship for sports clubs?
Right now, there is perhaps an obvious choice in terms of an industry that is growing in size each year and that is Fintech. Factoring in cryptocurrency trading firms and the popularity that this is at right now, it could well be the next major player in the sports sponsorship market.
Then there is the electric car industry which is predicted to become one of the next biggest growth industries over the next decade and certainly, the savviest sports clubs could well be in the driver’s seat when it comes to signing a sponsor such as Tesla.
For sports clubs that have astute commercial strategies in place, a ban on gambling sponsorship should not be too much of a problem, though it will certainly be interesting to see how this unfolds.
Sports journalist, content writer and passionate football lover.