How Much Longer Will Sky Bet Sponsor the EFL?

Last weekend saw the English Football League (EFL) get underway. How long will their sponsorship deal with Sky Bet continue?

There is increasing pressure on football clubs to end sponsorship deals with gambling-related companies. However, all the talk of government action seems to be centred on the English Premier League.

The government doesn’t seem to be heading towards a compulsory ban on such sponsorship deals, especially of the front-of-shirt variety. Their hope is the clubs will agree to a voluntary en to sponsorship deals with gambling companies.

There has been talk of a compromise deal that could lead to a voluntary ban. Reports have said that sleeve sponsorship could continue and existing deals allowed to run their course. Everton, Bournemouth and Fulham have new deals in place for the new season.

Little has been said by the government about the English Football League. The EFL is sponsored by Sky Bet and shows no intention of bringing that deal to an end. It’s a deal that is now begining its tenth season.

Sky Bet have spoken recently about the need for responsible gambling. Steve Birch is their Betting & Gaming chief commercial officer. He said there will be more focus put on social responsibility by the company.

This includes their ‘Take Time to Think’ safer gambling campaign. They are also encourging their customers to impose deposit limits and “consider other protective tools.”

Further awareness will be made of the ‘TalkBanStop’ collaboration that they have with GamCare, Gamban and GamStop. This sees a combination of practical tools with support given to those who are vulnerable and need to stop gambling.

The aim is to “kick-start their recovery journey.” and the collaboration is funded by the UK Gambling Commission. Tools used include self-exclusion and blocking software.

Their partnership with the EFL also sees them working with EPIC Risk Management. They are the leading UK independent harm minimisation consultancy. Sky Bet has a £1m multi-year agreement with them. This involves players and staff at EFL clubs receiving education about gambling-related harm.

All this comes despite Sky Bet being fined £1.17m by the UK Gaming Commission. A 2021 investigation found that the company had sent promotional emails to site members who had self-excluded themselves.

How long will this deal with the EFL continue is the big question though. If the Premier League introduces a voluntary ban, then surely the pressure will grow on the EFL to follow suit. If no Premier League voluntary deal is agreed, then the government may have to go down the compulsory ban route and that may well one day head in the direction of the EFL.

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