Betway thumbs nose at Spain’s online gambling sponsorship threats


Spain’s anti-gambling point man says online betting operators continue to mount “an absurd challenge” of the government’s bid to halt betting sponsorships of local sports.

Last Friday, Spanish online sports betting licensee Betway announced that it was the new main sponsor of second division footballers RCD Espanyol de Barcelona. The deal will see Betway’s logo splashed across the front of the team’s shirts.

This is the second Spanish football shirt deal Betway has inked in recent weeks, following the team’s deal with La Liga club Real Betis Balompié. That deal, along with Dafabet’s recent two-year deal with Cádiz CF, resulted in Spain’s Consumer Affairs minister Alberto Garzón accusing the betting operators of “huge recklessness.”

Garzón (pictured) said the bookmakers were making these deals despite knowing the government’s stated intention to abolish online gambling sponsorships and restrict other forms of advertising starting this October. Garzón expressed frustration at why the operators and the footballers were choosing to openly defy the government’s stated aims.

Last Friday, Garzón went on local radio to call the new sponsorship deals “an absurd challenge” to the government. Garzón previously claimed – without citing any evidence – that exposing young football fans to betting brands was the equivalent of “inciting a type of consumption that can be compulsive and that can lead to serious problems.”

There are currently eight La Liga clubs that feature a betting brand as their main shirt sponsor, and the league as a whole is set to derive roughly €110m during the 2020-21 season from sponsorships. That’s a relative pittance compared to the €2.1b or so earned from broadcast rights, but with COVID-19 preventing clubs from selling tickets to spectators, every euro counts.

It remains to be seen what brands might replace those betting logos should Garzón’s timetable prove accurate, but one Spanish affiliate speculated that beer brewers, online credit lenders and public lotteries like SELAE and ONCE might be in for more sporting exposure come October. None of which have ever proven harmful to anyone, ever.