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Report: Brentford consider Hollywoodbets replacement amid betting shirt sponsor crackdown

Premier League clubs facing ban on high-profile deals with gambling brands.

2 Mar 2023 Josh Sim

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  • Hollywoodbets’ deal with Brentford was set to continue beyond this season
  • Fulham and Leeds also put agreements with betting firms under review

English top-flight club Brentford are contemplating ending their shirt sponsorship contract with Hollywoodbets, according to the Daily Mail.

The Premier League outfit’s agreement with the South African gambling firm is presently set to continue beyond the end of this season. However, the UK government is expected to soon publish drafted legislation on gambling reform that will likely result in top-tier English clubs undertaking a voluntary ban on kit sponsorships with betting firms.

With new regulation looming, the Mail says Brentford have begun searching for a non-gambling firm to replace Hollywoodbets. The report says that the Bees were already discussing plans to terminate the partnership with the bookmaker before the governing Football Association (FA) charged striker Ivan Toney with 262 alleged breaches of betting rules back in December.

Brentford’s owner Matthew Benham also owns betting and data analytics firm Smartodds, but there are no commercial agreements in place between the company and Brentford.

Seven other Premier League clubs currently have shirt sponsorship deals with bookmakers, with Aston Villa most recently reportedly agreeing a three-year contract with gambling brand BK8. According to the Mail, agreements between Newcastle United and Fun88, as well as between Leeds United and Sbotop, are both currently under review.

Should the governmental whitepaper covering gambling reform be passed by the British parliament it could outlaw kit sponsorships from betting outlets from the start of the 2024/25 season.

SportsPro says…

The presence of bookmakers on soccer shirts has remained contentious for some time, given the dangers of gambling addiction among fans.

Given club owner Benham’s links with the betting industry and the alleged breaches committed by Toney, a move away from the gambling sector by Brentford would be a smart one. Evidently, the club wants to get ahead of the incoming sponsorship ban, should the new legislation be introduced.

Whether the choice inspires others to do the same remains to be seen. In defending the reported BK8 deal, Villa stated that gambling firms can offer ‘twice as much financially’ as other brands, underlining the tough choice clubs face in cutting ties with the industry.

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