Gambling Sponsor Ban Forces La Liga Soccer Clubs to Block Jersey Ads

  • Eight of 20 teams have gambling company logos on their jerseys
  • State of Emergency rules tightened the window for gambling ads to 1am to 5am
  • February regulation changes still permitted ads during live events after 8pm
  • Clubs must block or remove ads until the State of Emergency ends on June 21
Valenica player in LaLiga soccer match
A tighter ban on broadcast gambling ads during Spain’s State of Emergency is forcing eight La Liga soccer clubs to block or remove gambling sponsorship logos on their jerseys. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Eight teams affected for season restart

Eight teams in Spain’s top professional soccer division must rework their jersey sponsorships for the beginning of the season’s restart to comply with the country’s current State of Emergency rules. Article 37 of Royal Decree 11/2020, announced on March 31, bans gambling advertisements on television broadcasts except for a four-hour window between 1am and 5am. Nearly half of the La Liga clubs have gambling sponsors for their jerseys.

block out the logos on their jerseys or remove them altogether

The teams that are affected by the rule are (gambling sponsor in parentheses): Alavés (Betway), Granada (Winamax), Leganés (Betway), Levante UD (Betway), Mallorca (Betfred), Osasuna (Kirolbet), Sevilla (Marathon Bet), and Valencia (Bwin).

All eight clubs will have to block out the logos on their jerseys or remove them altogether. Replacing the logos with those of another sponsor is unlikely, considering the financial deals in place.

Harsh ad rules got tougher

Stricter gambling advertising rules were published in February, though the State of Emergency has tightened them further. Originally, while gambling ads on television, radio, and internet video sites were limited to that 1am to 5am window, they were still permitted during live broadcasts after 8pm. The ads could not make mention of bonuses, include any calls to action, or provide live odds information.

But now, with the pandemic State of Emergency, the exceptions have been eliminated and betting ads can only be shown in the wee hours of the morning.

If there is a silver lining for the La Liga teams, it is that the State of Emergency only runs through June 21. Thus, if it is not extended, the clubs only need to come up with a solution for the first three games once the season restarts.

The February regulations already banned in-stadium gambling advertising.

Protecting most vulnerable is the goal

The idea behind the added constraints is to protect people, particularly children and those with gambling problems, while they are stuck at home during pandemic lockdowns.

threatened to generate a public health problem”

According to Spanish sports site MARCA, a source close to the Minister of Consumer Affairs Alberto Garzón said: “The overexposure to this sort of advertisement threatened to generate a public health problem.”

“As the risk decreases and always considering the maximum criteria of public health, the necessary measures to advance into the new normal will be taken,” the person added.

Industry trade association Jdigital was understandably concerned about the original rule changes, saying that there was little room left for licensed gaming companies to properly advertise.

“Given this situation, we hope that the limited opportunities that remain will be sufficient to prevent the occurrence of unwanted effects, such as players moving to illegal and unregulated alternatives,” the organization said.