UK’s Football Association Suggests Gambling Tax to Fund Grassroots



Staff member
May 3, 2008
The UK's Football Association (FA) suggests introducing a gambling tax with the aim to fund football development at the grassroots level. Currently, the FA, the government and the Premier League give £64m to support grassroots football initiatives, however, the FA suggests an initiative past £100m.

The Chief Executive for the FA, Martin Glenn recently gave an interview, explaining that this move could contribute more to the grassroots and could push the funding for the Football Foundation.

Martin Glenn’s Statement

Naming it a fair return on football gambling, Glenn said that the tax is worth considering. Since the £600m deal with Shahid Khan, the American billionaire, for the proposed sale of Wembley Stadium derailed, the FA stated that they need to find more revenues for the gambling industry.

Glenn stated the fact that hundreds of betting companies actually use their intellectual property in order to attract bettors. So in return, he asks for a small percentage to be put into the actual thing that makes those bets possible, in the first place.

His statement is actually similar to those of some of the major sports leagues' executives in the US. Many of those leagues have been asking for a cut of the wagering revenue to be put in a clause in the legislation. These proposals, however, are yet to be accepted or denied.

Glenn is not asking for a huge sum of money from the UK betting operators, but instead says that it would be brilliant if in one way or another the budgets for grassroots football could increase. He asks to imagine what an increase of £40m could do for the development of football.

It is interesting, though, the fact that there were mentions of this a year ago when the FA said that gambling was too filthy a business to get involved or be publically associated with. But then again, this need for the betting industry’s money came as a result of the failure to sell the Wembley Stadium.

Negative Comments by Betting Operators

The Chair of Senet Group betting industry association, Gillian Wilmot finds this proposal quite surprising, since the Football Association already has large volumes of revenue due to the raised viewing figures from bettors, raised attendance and sponsorship. In fact, 17 out of 24 Championship and 9 out of 20 Premier League teams have sponsorship deals with gambling companies. Wilmot further criticizes this approach, explaining that Glenn’s suggestion strengthens the link between gambling and football, something that is actually quite inappropriate and basically the opposite of what the FA said a year ago.

The CEO of Remote Gambling Association, Clive Hawkswood was even more direct in telling that this proposal has no basis whatsoever and sees no need for the betting industry to give more money to a sport many would consider being extremely wealthy. The Remote Gambling Association has members such as Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, and William Hill, so with quite the experience in the gambling industry, Hawkswood explains that the betting industry already pays for the intellectual property rights of football, and additionally, the betting funds money flow from other partnerships like advertising, sponsorship and joint ventures.

To make things even more complicated and ironic, the gambling industry actually allied with the Gambling with Lives campaign. They think that if any money is taken off the betting industry, it should not be given back into football, but should go to fund education and research to prevent suicides associated with gambling problems and prevent gambling addiction.

The Current Taxes the Betting Industry Pays

The betting operators are obliged to pay 15% of their betting revenue to the UK’s government. Though the ever-growing football gambling industry is worth £1.4billion and the UK Gambling Commission said that betting operators make over £300million in profits in a year. If you take into consideration that Glenn proposed not a big lump sum, maybe the proposal will be considered.

The 15% tax was implemented in 2014 with the aim to prevent the avoidance of paying taxes in the UK by the major betting operators who have set up online operations, which were based in Gibraltar. Some of these operators include William Hill and Ladbrokes, members of the Remote Gambling Association.

Yukon Gold Casino