Gaming companies have been sponsoring sports for some time now and Bodog’s tie up with Ayr United is the latest in a long line of sponsorship agreements. Sponsorship by gaming companies is still a controversial issue with many territories choosing to outlaw it altogether. This situation was seen just last year over Real Madrid’s bwin sponsored shirts being banned in Germany. The trade organization representing the sponsorship industry, European Sponsorship Association (ESA) can see the importance of gambling companies to the industry though
According to an interview with Helen Day, Head of European Policy at ESA, carried out by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), “gambling companies did around €65million of reported sponsorship deals,” in 2008. The growth of online gambling business investing has been “particularly notable.”
Last year, it entered the top ten sponsoring industries in eighth place with 63 sponsorship deals involving gambling or lottery providers across all sectors.
In the same interview, EGBA touches on all parts of the sponsorship process. When asked whether a conflict of interest may occur, Day stated, “A sponsor has every incentive to ensure the integrity of a sporting event – its own brand and reputation are on the line.”
She added, “The gambling and sponsorship industries have put in place self-regulatory initiatives ensuring that gambling sponsorships and advertisements are implemented with a proper regard to application of corporate responsibility and to address social issues.”
Day lastly recognized that there are some regimes that aren’t as open to gaming firms, commenting, “The legality of some national restrictions on online gambling is not always clear – this can have an adverse impact upon the European sponsorship market.”
It’s hoped that the European Commission’s Green Paper may clear some of this up. The market for gambling sponsorship will still be one of those burgeoning for years to come.