Bolton Wanderers Cuts Gambling Ties

September 27, 2021
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Another UK football team is cutting all ties with its gambling sponsors and partners, as talks of an impending shirt sponsorship ban and changes to the “white label” system populate the national media.

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Another UK football team is cutting all ties with its gambling sponsors and partners, as talks of an impending shirt sponsorship ban and changes to the “white label” system populate the national media.

English Football League’s (EFL) League One side Bolton Wanderers said it would continue to be respectful of the league's commercial partnerships, as its main sponsor is Sky Bet, when it made the announcement on Friday (September 24).

Instead, the club is looking to support charities and organisations that help provide support for people with gambling addiction.

“We will not take part in any activity to promote gambling outside the existing EFL contractual requirements. This means that we will not provide matchday betting kiosks or enter into any new agreements with gambling companies,” Bolton Wanderers CEO Neil Hart said.

The club will still run a lottery that raises funds for club-related good causes and supporter engagement projects.

Bolton Wanderers join the likes of Norwich City football club and Preston North End, as well as a growing number of lower league teams, that have called for an end to gambling sponsorships in football.

It may be that these clubs have their wish granted, as recent national media reports in the UK claim a government white paper set to be released within a year will announce a ban on gambling shirt sponsorships.

Currently, there are a total of 15 teams in the top four flights of English football with gambling firms as their main shirt sponsors.

Additionally, reports claim that there will be changes to the rules surrounding white-label agreements, which are currently used by operators not licensed in the UK to advertise in the country.

Earlier this year, the EFL chairman warned that a ban on gambling sponsors would force the sport to seek financial support from the government.

However, Tranmere Rovers Football Club chairman Mark Palios argued earlier this year that cutting ties with the gambling industry would cost most EFL teams around 10 percent of their discretionary annual spend, which is primarily used for players' wages.

The news comes as, in the US, a major sports team has signed a shirt sponsorship with a gambling company for the first time. National Hockey League franchise the Washington Capitals signed a deal with Caesars that will run from the start of the 2022-2023 season.

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