Stricter Legislation for Sports Sponsorships

There was a time when tobacco companies dominated the world of sports. Cups, challenges and tournaments carried their names. The iconic red, white and black Marlboro cigarette boxes were a prominent feature on Formula 1 tracks, and then tobacco legislation changed the entire scenery of the international sporting arena. With tobacco companies gone, there was a gap left full and open for another industry to take up a position within the lucrative trade of sports sponsorships. It was also a time when legislation regarding gambling companies was relaxed in many parts of the world, and it wasn’t long before they moved into this gap. Featuring their names on cups and tournaments on stadium walls and jerseys worn. Now critics are stating that they too need some restriction to avoid irresponsible gambling within the younger crowds.

During 2005 the Gambling Act in the UK relaxed legislation regarding broadcasting gambling-related advertising. Since then it became an industry where large budgets are spent on advertising, naming only one such company, UK Betting, spending £328 million in 2018 alone only on direct advertising. Adverts are being pushed in commercial breaks, it is splashed on the walls of stadiums and is proudly worn by players in the game. More than half of the teams participating in the 2019-20 Premier League was flaunting jerseys sponsored by betting companies.

Critics Are Concerned

The leaders in the industry always support responsible gambling and sports betting. Thus the research done by mostly Australian studies is concerned with the effect of gambling advertising during games. In this kind of advertising, the attention of the younger crowds is attracted. Research has indicated that underaged supporters are more likely to remember these advertisements, the colours used and the slogans applied. These results are also reflected in the UK market. The result is that when the age group of those who are seen as superfans of a sport are placed around 16 years old, that they are the group exposed to the maximum impact of these kinds of advertising. The result of this is that in the UK of the age group 11-16 years old, 14% are involved in regular sports betting and of this 14% a total of 1.7% are placed within the category of problem gamblers and 2.2% of those at high risk of becoming problem gamblers.

Research also indicated that sports betting is done by this underaged crowd as well as by young adults for the increased excitement which goes along with it. The concern is that this is not reflecting on responsible gambling practices. Now the requests are being formulated to urge governments to apply the same kind of restrictive legislation which once removed the tobacco industry from the world of sports, on gambling companies too. It seems that fans can merely sit back and white to see which logos will be next to be reflected off the stadium walls or whether the current ones will be able to adapt their strategies and remain for much longer.