The 2005 Gambling Act made gambling advertising on television legal for United Kingdom and Offshore gambling companies. This opportunity was grabbed with both hands by online gambling firms; and as a result, advertising in this sphere shot through the roof, up by 1400% between 2005 and 2012!
Sports betting punters will still remember way back in 2002 when Fulham was the first and only club being sponsored by an online betting company, BetFair.
Today, it is an undeniable fact that more and more English Premier League (EPL) clubs are being sponsored by gambling firms.
This season has the most so far, with ten out of the twenty teams in the English Premier League promoting online sport betting operators or casinos on their chests. Gaming is now the fifth biggest player, in terms of investment, in the EPL; with sporting goods, financial services, airlines and cars all spending more – for now.
This astronomical rise in the presence of gambling companies in football sponsorship is because there are many benefits from this exercise; and anyone who knows anything about the gambling industry, will admit that these guys are never shy in taking advantage of any chance to further their business and maximise profits.
After horse racing, football is the second most popular bet on the whole. Therefore, it is a natural to view football betting sponsorships as an obvious activity that all online gambling operators would be interested in.
It is a near perfect way of reaching out to one’s target audience, and it is worth noting that the English Premier League draws the majority of football wagers.
Furthermore, it is a well known that football fans are far more likely to trust and engage with club sponsors; as they believe their club would only associated themselves with credible entities.
Therefore, football betting sponsorship reinforces the trust and reputation of the specific bookmaker and/or sports betting service. These two factors are essential to the success and longevity of any online sports betting service.
On the other hand, there are some online gambling operators that have not followed this popular trend. Party Casino is one notable absentee from this particular type of sponsorship; and there are valid arguments for this stance.
There are some who believe that the government are considering putting in place legislation that will prohibit gambling advertising on television during the day; and this will obviously lead to a change as how much value gambling companies then place on football club sponsorship.
Supporters of this position, will point to cases in the past where tobacco advertising was completely banned from Formula One.
Another example will be the severe restrictions on alcohol advertising, as gone are the days of seeing Carlsberg on Liverpool FC players.
Another telling fact is that nine of the ten gambling brands in the English Premier League possess online sports betting services. Therefore, brands like Party Casino who focus on online casino and slots games; and do not have any sports betting services, would be right in thinking that sponsorship of football clubs is not necessarily the perfect fit.
So online casino, slots, poker, bingo operators may take the view that they would not be getting as much bang for their buck, compared to other forms of sponsorship and/or marketing deals.
In summary, there is no doubt that football betting sponsorship is a great way of reaching a global audience, strengthening the brand in terms of credibility and increasing revenue; especially for firms that specifically provide sports betting services.
And although, legislation that will limit the scope of this type of sponsorship is not going to happen in the near future, it is definitely something that seems inevitable.