Manchester City and Aston Villa have both announced new sponsorship deals with gambling companies for the season ahead. This comes at a time when there is a lot of concern about the role these gambling companies play in the sporting world. There are fears that gambling is now being exposed to young people too early and it becomes a part of their day-to-day lives.
Manchester City sponsorship
There has been a steady increase in recent years of sports teams signing deals with betting companies. This could range from being the official betting partner of the organization to being the full kit sponsor.
The current Premier League champions Manchester City signed a partnership with Marathonbet, which is now the organization’s first “Official Global Betting Partner” for both the male and female teams.
There will be a betting offering available on the day at the Etihad Stadium whenever there is a home game. Kiosks will open at the start of the 2018/19 season. A variety of content will be provided to fans throughout the season, including numerous exclusive promotions and competitions.
The backdrops to match-day interviews and throughout the stadium itself will have the Marathonbet logo emblazoned.
Talking about this new deal, Marathonbet CEO Natalia Zavodnik said: “The club share our ideas of innovation and providing their supporters and football fans alike with extraordinary odds, markets, and experiences; something we saw with their record-breaking 2017/18 season.”
Aston Villa sponsorship
Championship side Aston Villa has announced a deal with a new kit sponsor, while 32Red is returning as the team’s main partner. This online betting company had previously been the kit sponsor from 2006 to 2008. They will now once again have their logo appear on the home and away jerseys.
Unibet was the kit sponsor last season. The partnership with Unibet will continue, but their logo will now appear only on the training kit.
The announcement of this deal comes amid recent controversy surrounding the club’s finances. Aston Villa will meet with the chief executive of the English Football League in the coming days to discuss the future of the club.
The club has been struggling with finances as a result of their Chinese owner, Dr. Tony Xia having cash flow problems. Aston Villa also faces a lawsuit from former chief executive Keith Wyness based on his alleged constructive dismissal. This could cost the club in the region of £6m ($8m).
Football club betting sponsorships
There has been a massive increase in the number of betting sponsors who are involved with sports teams across the world. This is especially true for the top leagues in England, with most teams having some form of betting partner on board in some capacity. Even the likes of the FA and EFL have partnerships with betting companies.
The increase in the sponsorships noticeably began to trend upwards following the introduction of the 2005 Gambling Act, which opened up a lot of rules regarding advertising and sponsorships in the gambling industry.
The number of young people fanatically following these teams and games are constantly being exposed to gambling advertisements. Some of these of these ads involve some of their favorite players, people whom young people look up to.
A report by the BBC showed that 95% of televised football matches in Britain during 2017 featured one or more gambling commercials during the ad break. Social media is also inundated with content and media from these gambling companies.
This gives the youth the impression that gambling is a normal everyday ritual. In 2016, a study by the UK’s Gambling Commission reported on the extent of gambling activity in England and Wales. The report said 16% of children between the ages of 11 and 15 had gambled within one week of the survey, compared with 8% who had consumed alcohol in that time frame and 5% who had smoked.
Many are calling this a public health issue. A group of MPs recently came together to discuss implementing a ban on gambling ads being shown during sports games in the UK.
Kit sponsorship, billboard ads, and sponsorships of competitions have led to the normalization of gambling. The consequences of problem gambling are of course well-documented, especially among those who are exposed to it at a young age. There is an ongoing debate concerning this issue, with many people calling for changes to be made to the 2005 Gambling Act.