Premier League clubs have agreed to stop featuring gambling sponsorships on the front of their matchday shirts by the end of the 2025-26 season. While they’ll still be able to have gambling brands on their shirt sleeves and LED advertising, they won’t be allowed to have them on the front of their shirts after the deadline.

This decision follows a consultation between the Premier League, its clubs, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as part of the UK government’s ongoing review of current gambling legislation. The move will see the Premier League become the first sports league in the UK to take such a voluntary measure to reduce gambling advertising.

However, clubs will still be allowed to secure new shirt-front deals before the deadline. Currently, eight top-flight clubs have gambling companies on the front of their shirts, worth an estimated £60m per year. One such club, Brentford FC, is contemplating ending its shirt sponsorship contract with Hollywoodbets, according to the Daily Mail but the Premier League outfit’s agreement with the South African gambling firm is set to continue beyond the end of this season.

Gambling addiction has been a significant problem in the UK, with around 245,000 people in the country now classified as “problem gamblers.” The value of the industry is astronomical, with around £14 billion being lost through betting in 2019 alone. The majority of this is lost by betting on football matches. Sportsradar estimates that football accounts for 70% of the annual worth of sports match betting revenue globally, which is estimated to be between $700bn to $1tn from legal and illegal activity.

The problem is exacerbated, or at least not helped, by the relentless exposure to betting advertising experienced by spectators and TV-viewers of football matches. In most televised football games, the logos of gambling companies can appear more than 700 times in a match, equating to 6 appearances per minute and is practically unavoidable by any watcher.

Despite this, the UK government has resisted making a decisive judgment and enforcing a mandatory ban on betting partnerships in English football. Instead, they have left the decision to the English Football Association to voluntarily devise and implement their own methods of combating the current situation. The government is also conducting a comprehensive review of gambling laws, which will likely have a knock-on effect on the manner in which the FA finalizes their decisions on football and betting partnerships.

Ultimately, the Premier League’s move to withdraw gambling sponsorships from the front of their matchday shirts is seen as step in the right direction.