The revision of the British Gambling Act 2005 will presumably end up with a complete ban on the sponsorship by bookmakers, this will have a disastrous effect on the financing of the sports sector, in particular soccer clubs. According to Maksym Lyashko, the review should take into account the broader impact of these changes not only on gambling, but also on the sports industry at large.
By the time the pivotal review of the British Gambling Act of 2005 was drawing to a close, the discussion revolved around whether the new regulations might have a bearing on the interplay between the sports industry and gambling. By the time the pivotal review of the British Gambling Act of 2005 was drawing to a close, the discussion revolved around whether the new regulations might have a bearing on the interplay between the sports industry and gambling. The latest event before the end of the debate process was seeing longtime MP and alleged pro-gambling industry loyalist, John Whittingdale, being in charge of the work on the bill following the withdrawal of Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston, subject to a certain amount of criticism. According to a vocal group, strict enforcement of the toughest rules would have a considerable knock-on effect on problem gamblers nationwide, yet this seemed to be an improvident response.
The review considered issues such as limits on the amount a punter can wager online, the slot machine speed allowed, and should users have to provide documented proof that they can actually afford for their losses. These factors significantly change the player’s experience and the nature of player interaction with online gaming, while at the same time we questioned the propriety and reason why gambling brands’ advertising on the sports kit should be reconsidered. There is a high probability that there will be a general ban on sponsorship, overlooking the financial implications that this could have on an already distressed due to the pandemic sports industry.
In the UK, sports organizations and betting companies have for many years maintained well-balanced partnerships based on win-win interests. Thanks to this relationship, sports clubs not only receive short-term financial assistance, but also long-term quality investment in their players. The British soccer betting market has shown a £1 billion annual growth in cash turnover, and many teams are capitalizing on these financial affiliations with gambling companies to move up the league table.
Half of Premier League soccer clubs feature a gambling sponsorship on their jerseys. With this funding, a team can maintain its position as a major soccer club, and the additional funding gives it the ability to attract more talents, both coaches and players, that thereby increase the involvement of its fans. There is a possibility that if these revisions are implemented, that the budgets normally allocated to jersey sponsorship will be reallocated to other sectors, thus other segments will receive the benefit of the extra investment over the soccer.
It is worth considering how big the effect would be to justify withdrawing this investment from sports. We sponsor a number of British sports clubs at Parimatch, among them Leicester City and Everton, and having to withdraw the financial support we have been providing while the entire sports sector has suffered will undoubtedly have dire effects on those teams.
To abandon soccer jersey sponsorship as a vehicle for solving gambling addiction issue appears to be unjust and visionless. Not only will the amendments introduced be felt by particular clubs, but also by the entire industry. The Champions League is sponsored by SkyBet, whose teams enjoy the benefits and prospects, in exchange for valuable advertising space. Stoke City F.C., seized the opportunity and partnered with Bet365 to build the Bet365 Stadium in 2016. The deal has resulted in a stadium with a capacity of over 30,000 people, as well as a more revenue potential and a more compelling fans’ experience. For the clubs, the events a clear demonstration of how revenue from sports and betting partnerships can provide them with a more promising prospect.
We, as representatives of the industry, encourage discourse on how to improve the quality of gambling experience. There have been ongoing debates in neighboring EU countries, and new mechanisms have been launched to safeguard gamers. For instance, in Italy, new regulations concerning gambling have been introduced, and direct and indirect advertising, sponsorship, and promotional activities of betting operators have been banned throughout the country. Likewise, in Belgium, while sports betting advertising remains legal, a ban was imposed on casino advertising on television.
The UK, however, has enacted a lot of regulations. Thus, the UK is one of the countries with the strictest gambling legislation. In 2019, there were introduced four new laws to facilitate this, including: reducing the maximum bet on fixed-odds betting terminals from £100 to £2; toughening age and identity verification rules; making it mandatory for online operators to register with GAMSTOP (the national multi-operator online self-exclusion scheme); and banning the use of credit cards for gambling.
It is difficult to explain how removing gambling logos from sports kits will have a big impact with the development of programs aimed to keep gamblers from addiction, as well as with the introduction by the betting platforms of their own relating initiatives. It is important that sports and betting entities keep up their responsibility to ensure the security of their customers.
There needed to be regular and clear revisions of the legislation and our industry must be mindful of the responsibility of providing responsible use of our services. And we urge those who take the lead in conducting such a review to consider how these sweeping changes affect not only the gambling industry, but the sports industry at large, especially on the progress and development of the nation’s soccer teams. Given that the past year has been a difficult period from many perspectives, the review should seek to ensure fair and sustainable sponsorship alternatives in order to secure the future of both the sports and gambling industries.