Betting Sponsorship Review Poised to Deal Financial Blow for West London’s Sports Clubs

The UK government’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act is poised to pile further financial pressure on West London’s professional sports clubs.

The 2005 legislation was brought in to control the way in which gambling licences were issued and managed throughout the UK in order to prevent crime, protect vulnerable groups of people, and ensure that all gambling was being carried out in a legitimate way.

Further improvements were made 9 years later to combat the increases in licences being registered in UK overseas territories such as Malta and Gibraltar, where the tax implications are far softer for operators than on the mainland. An increase in tax rates for these zones succeeded in increasing the government’s share of the profits but did little to address other issues such as gambling addiction or attracting young players.  

Many critics say that the laws didn’t go far enough, and now as the rise in online betting begins to surge, the conservative government is making good on it’s election pledge to initiate a full review of the whole system.

What are the changes? 

All news of potential changes at this stage is still purely speculative, but according to The Guardian, one of the highest priorities is to revoke the right for betting firms to sponsor professional sports clubs.

It seems that one of the main concerns is that the younger fans are susceptible to the allure of gambling ads and with their footballing heroes presenting sponsorship on their kit, the temptation to try betting is extremely high.

The regulations in the UK are pretty strict when it comes to under 18s, but unfortunately the world of online betting has opened the door to some offshore sites who are willing to turn a blind eye to minors accessing their sites.

Financial effect on West London’s sports clubs

Half of all premier league clubs and scores of lower league teams currently benefit from lucrative sponsorship deals with bookmakers and online casinos, like those that can be found at, and it’s reported that those deals were worth a combined £110 million across the various leagues during the 19/20 season. 

Several teams in West London are among those who are receiving advertising revenue during the 20/21 season from betting firms.

  • Fulham F.C. The recently promoted Cottagers currently enjoy a shirt sponsorship deal with Bet Victor. The two-year deal was completed for an undisclosed fee but industry sources have speculated that it may be worth around £5 million
  • Brentford F.C. In November 2020, the Bees struck a 2-year back-of-shirt deal with South African firm Hollywood Bets. It’s not publicly known how much the deal may have been worth
  • QPR. The championship side signed a 1-year shirt sponsorship deal with betting platform Football Index. There’s an option for a 1-year extension, but this may depend on any amendments to the laws in question
  • Middlesex CCC. The top-flight cricket club is currently involved with betting firm Sporting Index in the capacity as “Executive Partner”
  • Chelsea F.C. The 5-time Premier League winners have announced Go Markets as their official trading partners. As they aren’t a betting firm in the traditional sense, it’s difficult to say if this partnership will be affected

The gross gambling yield for the UK from April 2019 to March 2020 was £14.2 billion, and sports clubs are regularly seeing more and more funds from this booming industry making its way to them.

Cutting off this revenue stream will undoubtedly have a huge effect on those clubs, and when you combine thi with the massive losses that the Covid-19 pandemic has already dealt the industry, it’s understandable that they will fight any decisions all the way.

Any recommendations that may arise from the commission’s review will likely take many months if not years to come into effect, so for the time being at least, the advertising is likely to continue.