9 shirts in the Premier League today are sponsored by bookmakers and gambling websites. Just let that sink in for a second….
Indeed, it is very true that if you watch live coverage of any sports event these days you can truly see the impact that the gambling industry has on the world. Every advert you are told odds, enticing offers for new customers and unique bets. Is this right? Should we be exposing people to this much temptation to Gamble? How should Shirt sponsorship be used?
The gambling aspect is worrying and the Premier League have taken steps to ensure that kids sized T shorts do not carry betting logos. That shows the people at the top have realised there is some sort of moral issue here and indeed there is. Kids, and even vulnerable adults, have come to associate sports with betting in a way that was never done before. This is all due to the ease at which one can now place a bet…gone are the days of having to trudge to the book makers and place a bet, now with the touch of a button, an app, an interactive tv and a mobile phone you can bet until you have ran out of money. And that’s dangerous….there is only ever one winner and that is the bookmaker and the way in which sponsorship has come to be dominated by gambling is a worrying trend. What next?
The sponsorship of Newcastle United raised some questions when Wonga took over. A company known for praying on the poor, the vulnerable and the desperate with noted rip off rates and noted dubious practice sponsoring a team in a sport viewed by, and dependant on the very people the company exploits. Something doesn’t sit right?
Should we have more rules, should there be more in place to determine what is seen by millions of eyes every day and paraded round on shirts in cities up and down the country? Indeed the big clubs follow suit and tend to have the bigger deals with Airlines and car makers etc. You have to go down to the 7th biggest sponsorship deal (West Ham United – Betway) to see the influx. So…outside of the top 6 “big money clubs” 9 of the 14 have gambling sponsors….this shows that the League, if they truly want to address it, need to help these clubs find more deals, make them a more attractive package and perhaps make the financial strains less binding. Otherwise, the gambling offers will always be too tempting to take!
There is also an interesting school of thought that suggest shirt sponsorship money should be pooled and divided between all clubs which had the backing of 11 teams in a recent Premier League meeting, but when the vast differences in what is paid to Manchester United and Stoke City for example are compared, you will understand why this will never happen!