The Big Step sends open letter to Premier League ahead of vote on bookmaker-club partnerships

The Big Step, a campaign calling for an end to bookmaker sponsorships of football clubs, published a letter with reports from more than 100 people affected by excessive gambling ahead of the vote scheduled for September.

The letter cited concerns about the upcoming vote, stating that “relying on clubs to self-regulate has not worked so far”, then highlighting concerns about the number of betting company ads shown at Premier League games, giving an example of a match that displayed 700 ads.

The group emphasized that it is not anti-gambling, that it is not “trying to completely end the relationship between game and football”; but that “should not be promoted, especially in a globally adored league where young people make up a quarter of the audience.”

Premier League clubs Fulham and Everton have recently signed partnerships with betting companies, W88 and Stake respectively. These measures cast doubt on the commitment of both teams to reduce the presence of advertisements for this segment in football.

By comparison, Crystal Palace chose to forgo a partnership with W88 in May, choosing car retailer Cinch as the team’s new sponsor. The move came amid the highly contested debate over betting company advertisements, though whether that was a factor in the decision is unknown.

The letter also expressed disappointment at the government’s continued delay in revising the Gambling Act, which was delayed due to opposition from senior members of the government and, again, the need to choose a new prime minister.

Voting to debate agreements between bookmakers and clubs will take place in September

The postponed vote on banning football gambling and betting group sponsorships will take place in September, with reports suggesting clubs will support the ban if certain conditions are met.