News broke recently from south of the border in the English Premier League that clubs have decided to move away from having gambling companies as shirt sponsors, with this coming into effect in the 2025/26 campaign. And while the Premier League are the first to have made a move on this, there were concerns that similar could happen in the SPFL, but fears have been allayed by the powers that be.
Rangers fans will be aware that the club is currently tied into a shirt sponsorship deal with leading gambling brand the Kindred Group, which owns 32 Red and Unibet, which feature on domestic kits and shirts worn in European competitions, respectively. These types of relationships have proven beneficial to all parties, hence why global companies like the Kindred Group and Entian use this strategy to promote their leading brands, Party Online Casino being one of the recent ones to partner with the McClaren F1 team via the latter.
There are currently eight teams out of twenty in England’s Premier League that have gambling companies emblazoned across shirts, and after going to a vote, eighteen of the current twenty decided moving away from gambling sponsors was the right thing to do, while two outfits abstained from voting. While clubs could miss out on the lucrative deals on offer from this sector, they do have a huge amount of TV money coming in, and the income generated for clubs dwarfs that seen by clubs competing in the SPFL.
The TV money that Premier League clubs in England receive is one of the reasons why the same action against gambling sponsors in the SPFL is not currently on the horizon. Clubs like Rangers rely on the money brought in by the commercial deals they’ve struck, and the one with the Kindred Group, which happens to be one of the longest-running deals of its kind in British sport, enables the Gers to compete at the top end of the SPFL.
On behalf of the SPFL, a spokesperson said, “For many SPFL clubs, sponsorship from gambling companies is a significant source of income which helps to support their business models and enables investment in many of the important community activities which clubs undertake.
“Individual sponsorships are a matter for each club, and there are no plans for a league-wide proscription of such deals.”
Rangers, like the other SPFL clubs that gambling companies sponsor, will undoubtedly be delighted at the stance on the matter by the powers that be. But, it could also serve as a warning of what could happen further down the line as governments worldwide continue to clamp down on how gambling in the form of sports betting and casino is advertised. There have long been concerns that football and sports, in general, are used by gambling operators to reach the masses, so a decision could be made in future in the SPFL. But for now and the foreseeable, everything will remain as is.