The sponsoring of UK football clubs by gambling operators is a thorny one at present. That hasn’t stopped QuinnCasino from signing a front-of-shirt deal with Scottish Premiership side Dundee United.
The company will become the principal partner of the team that finished fourth in the table in the 2021/22 season. That placing takes them into the Europa Conference League qualifying rounds next season.
This sponsorship deal will benefit from a number of “key touch points” and the club say it is a “lucrative agreement.” They are the first Scottish side to sign a sponsorship deal with the company. Their Head of Commercial & Sponsorship is Elliot Shaw. He believes this deal will have “significant benefits” for the club as well as “the wider community.”
The UK gambling platform, will support the work of the Community Sports Trust as per these online casino sites reports. This sees the promotion of education and awareness for responsible gambling. Dundee United fans will be able to take part in competitions with match tickets as prizes as well as signed merchandise.
The deal is an important one for the gambling company who have a lot of support in Scotland. QuinnBet Managing Director Stephen Kelly says the company takes “our social responsibilities seriously.” Recently, GamCare awarded them the Independent Safer Gambling Standard.
Giving that help is admirable but the fact Is that the knives are out when it comes to gambling companies sponsoring football clubs.
What is interesting is the fact that the deal is only for the 2022/23 season. Signing a longer-term deal perhaps isn’t the best thing to do at present. The UK government is reviewing the 2005 Gambling Act and it’s possible that action will be taken over such sponsorship deals.
Recently, English Premier League side Crystal Palace announced a change in their front-of-shirt sponsors. Unlike Dundee United, Palace have ended a deal with gambling company W88 and will instead be sponsored by car insurance firm Cinch.
There are many opponents of sponsorship by gambling companies. It’s not just about the sponsorship of shirts or in some cases, sleeves. There are concerns about the pitch-side advertisements, sponsoring of sporting competitions, stadiums and other deals that put gambling firmly in the eyes of the public.
One worry that campaigners have is what influence this sponsorship has on children who love following football clubs.
One campaigning group eager to see the end of sponsorship deals is The Big Step. That was founded by James Grimes who himself has had problems with gambling addiction. He believes that there is “no justification” in such sponsorship.
His view is that “gambling companies use football to legitimise, normalise and glamourise their products.”
It’s no surprise though that gambling companies wish to sponsor football. It remains one of the most popular sports in the world and offers so much exposure for the companies. In defence of such deals, the Premier League and English Football League say that no evidence exists of a casual link between gambling sponsorship and people developing gambling problems.
The English Football League is sponsored by Sky Bet. They believe that a government ban could cost the 72 participating clubs £40 million a year.
There has been talk that the government will ask for a voluntary ending to such sponsorship deals. We should know more soon when the plans for the review of gambling laws in the UK are announced.
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