Corporate sponsorship of football competitions has dated back to the early 80’s, some would argue even further back than that. A wide range of companies have been involved over the years including Canon, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Carling and more.
But when does corporate sponsorship become a problem for those in the community?
It is responsible to have advertisements for alcohol and online casinos plastered across billboards, signage and memorabilia? Should we be trying to sensor the potentially harmful advertisements or are we simply getting too ahead of ourselves?
Sponsorship of Football leagues, as any company can attest to, is an incredible investment opportunity because of the amount of fans both the live games and televised events reach.
Literally millions of fans all over the world tune into the matches and, with a little luck, those billboards and jerseys will tell the little voices inside their heads to get up and buy a coke or remind them that they need to check out the newest cameras.
It’s also a great way to build trust – after all, how many corporations can afford to sponsor such huge events.
And online casinos are no strangers to landing football sponsorships, realizing the potential benefit of these deals for the online casino and the market of people they can reach.
So what in fact are the implications of putting an online casino’s names on a jersey or on billboards on the pitch?
Is there a direct to this advertising and fans then going off to play casino games? Many argue that while football fans are the perfect market for online gambling sites (males between the ages of 18-44) that this could also target younger children and teenagers.
There is also the ongoing debate about online gambling addiction how advertisements could further promote the negative behaviour.
Complaints were also being made about the printing of online casino names on children’s replica shirts and jersey.
It is illegal for online casinos to advertise to children, a law which eventually prompted a ban on printing online casino operator’s names on children’s jerseys.
Many still argue though that teenagers are still not being protected because they often wear adult sized clothes.
But online casino sponsorships have been around for years.
In 2006, top UK online casino 32Red landed a 2-year sponsorship deal with Aston Villa while 888.com had a sponsorship deal with Middlesbrough, just to name a few.
Back then, online casinos were coming under quite a lot of fire for these sponsorship deals.
Today, Mansion sports sponsors the Tottenham Hotspur, 32Red sponsors the Swansea Football Club, 888.com sponsors the Sevilla Football club and PartyCasino sponsors Leyton Orient, to name a few.
And online casino operators are fighting back in their defence.
Ed Ware, Chief Executive of 32Red had said that sponsorship from online casinos shouldn’t be considered an issue for several reasons.
One was because their market is significantly much smaller than big names like Coca-Cola.
He also noted that what should be monitored is the proper regulation of online casinos.
32Red is a strong advocate for responsible gambling and has since been working closely with GamCare while many other online casinos employ strict regulation standards set out by governing bodies.
And what always remains a constant is that no company, whether it is an online casino, a financial institution or cell phone provider, is ever telling people what to do, they are simply giving them options should they decide to buy a beer or try some gambling online.