Over the last half a decade, football has evolved to be more than just an entertaining sport with billions of fans worldwide. This multi-billion-pound industry has attracted the attention of major gambling companies and online casinos, pumping millions of pounds in the game. After all, the most successful clubs require a lot of money to maintain their players for success in the field.
Through sponsorship, many top clubs in the major leagues around the world wear shirts adorning logos promoting betting companies. In the English Premier League, nine out of 20 clubs are sponsored by betting companies. However, the situation in the championship has gotten problem gambling experts worried. A staggering 17 out of 24 clubs have gambling companies on their shirts.
Here are some pros of having gambling sponsors in football, along with some issues that have gotten gambling addiction experts have raised.
Pros Of Gambling Sponsorship In Football
- People Deem It Acceptable Compared To Other Sponsors In The Past
For decades, sponsorship has been widely used in football as a marketing tool for multinational brands to enhance awareness, brand image, sales, and market share. Alcohol and tobacco companies mostly dominated this space, but it has been replaced with betting due to various moral issues. Many jurisdictions have also banned such sponsorships, leaving football clubs to instead seek lucrative partnerships with gambling companies.
- It’s A Symbiotic Relationship That Benefits Both The Club And The Gambling Company
From a commercial perspective, gambling companies and football clubs share a symbiotic relationship where they feed one another. With football clubs, solid financial backing is one of the things you need to be successful. Betting companies invest millions of pounds in the clubs, in exchange for an effective platform to reach their target audience. Keep in mind that football is watched by millions of fans all over the globe who might be betting already.
Aside from shirt sponsorships, gambling companies can sponsor ads on the sides of the football pitches. That puts millions of pounds in the clubs budget and also reinforces the reputation and trust of specific sports betting services or bookmakers. The factors are essential for the longevity and success of an online sports betting company.
- It’s One Of The Best Ways To Support The Increasing Football Standard
As the standard of football in the Premier League and other top leagues continue to increase, clubs need all the help they can get to remain on top. Gambling sponsors invest huge amounts of money, which help to improve the training facilities, create modern stadia, and financially support the players and the local community.
Many football clubs are running local youth clubs, investing a significant amount of cash. That means without the money that gambling sponsors offer, many clubs in the UK would suffer from limited financial freedom.
Why Experts Are Warning Against Gambling Sponsorship In Football
According to CasinoGuide, fans have always had mixed reactions when it comes to gambling industry sponsors supporting football clubs. The morality debate on the issue is fierce, and gambling addiction experts are warning of the associated dangers.
- It Normalizes Gambling
Gambling sponsorship in football is contentious for different reasons. The association of football clubs with gambling companies seems to convey the message that gambling is safe and synonymous to watching sports. Similar to what happens when a celebrity endorses a brand, image transfer can also occur in football. Fans may link gambling with successful players and clubs, which makes them see it as a normal activity.
- It May Lead To Problem Gambling
According to the Gambling Commission, there are over 400,000 people affected by problem gambling in the UK. The study also suggests that a further 2 million are at risk of getting a gambling problem. Despite most people saying that the involvement of betting companies cannot influence their decision to place a bet, most confess to betting with at least one the brands supporting Premier league clubs and other international teams.
Most of the gambling companies that sponsor football club shirts and ads also have an online platform and mobile apps that make it further easy to access. That can lead to a gambling problem, even when a fan continues to win while betting.
- The Sponsorship May Encourage Minors To Gamble
In another alarming statistic by a public body, about 370,000 children between 11 and 16 years participate in betting at least once a week. With betting ads littered all over football fields, the numbers of young people exposed to the betting culture are very worrying. From a young age, we are literally teaching children that betting is part of the football culture.
Gambling sponsors have a lot of money to invest in sports, and therefore, it’s a good business for both the sponsor and the club. Nonetheless, it comes with lots of worrying issues that may result in serious problems if not well addressed.