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15 EFL and non league clubs in open letter to government urging gambling ban

15 EFL and non league clubs come together to feature in an open letter to the government urging for a gambling ban in football.

The group of clubs want to ban gambling adverts in football and have written in the hope of bringing that to an end with ministers currently reviewing gambling laws and are expected to publish reforms after Easter.

Despite this, EFL chiefs insist certain clubs need income from the advertising to survive, but clearly, some feel there has to be a better way of going about it.


We are a collection of football clubs writing to you regarding the UK Government’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act, specifically the relationship between gambling and football.

As owners, directors, and executives responsible for our clubs, we have witnessed the harmful growth of gambling sponsorship and advertising in football, including the negative impact on our fans.

This is why we have backed The Big Step’s campaign to kick gambling advertising out of football.

As trusted hubs of our community, we have a social and ethical responsibility to our young fans and wider fanbase to create the safest possible environment to watch their heroes.

This is not compatible with something that causes more than 400 suicides every year in England alone.

There is overwhelming consensus about the harm caused by gambling marketing, with the betting industry themselves even offering a voluntary whistle-to-whistle ban on TV advertising during live games.

Sadly, measures like this are relatively ineffective as it is still virtually impossible to watch a football league game in the UK without seeing a gambling advert, with one Premier League game containing 700.

It seems clear to us that our fans, the players and the public support our stance, with the only barrier seemingly being the financial impact on clubs.

This is why we are writing to you today – we want to challenge the notion that football is dependent on gambling advertising revenues.

As clubs without these partnerships, we can say categorically that we evidently do not need them.

We have managed to source other forms of sponsorship and have attracted partnerships because of our socially responsible stance on this issue.

We are not alone – in the Scottish Premier League, Hearts have a policy not to take direct gambling sponsorship money and have “found it fairly easy’ to find alternatives.

A report from – NERA commissioned by the Peers for Gambling Reform – backs up our experiences, showing that if gambling sponsorship was banned and replaced, it would lead to just a 2.5% cut in revenues – a price worth paying.

There are much bigger questions about the financial sustainability and fairness of football but funding our game through gambling ads is not sustainable, nor is it fair.

The gambling sector derives most of its profits from people experiencing harm which is incompatible with the values of our sport.

The betting industry could and should contribute to the sport it generates billions from by the government introducing a rights levy.

It seems the main reason to maintain the status quo is financial, and we hope this letter has allayed those fears.

We know that football wants this relationship to change – with representatives meeting with parliamentarians from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm recently to discuss future arrangements.

A ban on gambling logos on shirts would be a significant acceptance of the harm caused, but we would encourage you to include all gambling advertising in stadiums and competition sponsorship so every young fan can go to any football match – home and away – free of inducements to gamble. We would be happy to discuss this matter with you at the earliest possible opportunity.

Yours sincerely,

Gary Sweet, CEO of Luton Town FC
Laura Montgomery, CEO of Glasgow City FC
Bolton Wanderers FC
Mark Palios, Chairman of Tranmere Rovers FC
Dale Vince, Chairman of Forest Green Rovers FC
Conor Huey, Chairman of Drogheda United FC
Jason Norman, Director of Chippenham Town FC
Ben Clasper, Chairman of Dulwich Hamlet FC
Nick Hutt, Co-owner of Billericay Town FC
John Peel, Director of Lewes FC
Owners of Clapton Community FC
Tom Webster, Chairman of Seaford Town FC
Martin Garry, Chairman of Newhaven FC
Callum Butcher, Chairman of Headingley AFC
Gretna FC 2008
Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic FC
Wyndham Athletic FC
Ipswich Wanderers FC
Estudiantes FC
Darlington Railway Athletic FC

SEE MORE: “Sicken me” – Paul Merson hits out at his high-profile Sky Sports colleagues


Twitter users reacted as 15 EFL and non league clubs come together in an open letter to the government urging for a gambling ban…

@ronniemac93: Cmon @STARReading surely we can get @ReadingFC to join this 🙏 #readingfc

@SkyblueDebB: Come on @Coventry_City

@Jacobwilhelmmay: To be fair as alcohol is they should do gambling

@TravisA88986780: Well done @LutonTown

@Kay_mnmt: Let’s do the right thing @Arsenal

@MichaelBarrass1: Well done @DarloRAFC can @Official_Darlo step up ?

@JohnPMerrigan: This is absolutely needed. @LFC, you should be on this list

@ltfc_bible: First name on the sign sheet, I love my club 😍 #coyh

@tom7p: Wow. Fair play to these clubs. Some really impressively run clubs in there: Bonnyrigg, Glasgow City, Tranmere, Luton, Forest Green, and others.

@DomJohn881: Some just some well run clubs in that list. Time for @BathCity_FC to tie their colours to the mast. #GamblingAds

@THEMACHOPEAS: Hi @shrewsweb

@dantperry: Great initiative, logical and clearly the right move, but I fear that the fact that this is primarily being driven by lower/non-league clubs means it won’t have the impact it needs. Would love to be proven wrong, though.

@LiamNUFC98: My football club 😍 (Dulwich Hamlet)

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