In the last few years casinos and bookmakers have become the major shirt sponsors for a number of Premier League clubs, in this article we consider why, and whether this trend looks set to continue.
When Everton traveled to Lille to take on the French giants in the Europa League earlier this season they were forced to wear sponsor-less shirts, because of a ban on the promotion of alcohol in the host country.
It was a strange spectacle to see a Premier League side returning to their roots and sporting a plain strip, bringing to mind old Match of the Day clips featuring the stars of 70's football wearing their traditional colors before shirt sponsorship really took off.
What if Sponsorship by UK Online Casinos Was Banned?
Seeing Everton’s sponsor-less shirt made me wonder what would happen in the Premier League if the promotion of betting and online casinos was banned?
UK online casinos powered by the likes of Microgaming are already trying their best to attract football fans with slot games such as Field of Green and Football Star, both available to play at Casino Shorts.
Time for a rethink?
If online casinos are still allowed to sponsor shirts in 2014/15, this would have a huge impact, not only affecting club revenues but also changing the face of the game.
Where previously Premier League sponsorship was dominated by drinks companies, Everton, sponsored by Chang, are now the only club that would fall foul of the French alcohol ban.
Whilst a number of clubs are sponsored by travel companies and airlines, arguably the most dominant sector among Premier League shirt sponsors is online gambling and casinos. With four Premier League clubs currently sporting their logos, they account for 20% of Premier League shirt sponsorship.
Why so Many?
English football is a huge draw for fans across the world, with millions of viewers tuning in from Australia to the United States every week. The attention that Premier League clubs in particular draw from fans across continents opens up a huge range of markets for online gambling companies.
Where previously gambling may have been associated with smoky backstreet betting shops, it is now a normalized part of UK culture and punters can place bets or play casino games in their own homes. Football is a normal, everyday, part of life for millions of people; by sponsoring so many Premier League shirts online gambling companies are seeking to become part of that norm, and who can blame them?
Will it Continue?
The signs are that gambling culture within UK football and football coverage are here to stay. In addition to the shirt sponsorship, Sky Bet sponsors the English Football League and William Hill sponsors the Scottish Cup. This is not to mention the significant rise in gambling advertising during football coverage, with numerous bookmakers now offering ‘in-play’ markets and publicizing their odds at half-time.
Betting on football has never been easier, or more fun, and with the rise of gambling sponsorship, the link between the excitement of football and the thrill of online casinos and betting will only become stronger.