Gambling sponsors are dominating international financial contributors to all footballing clubs. After the onset of the global pandemic, the financial flow is spiked in the hands of these sponsoring agencies. For the English, betting follows parallel importance as that of the games. This is well proven by the gambling sponsors which advertise under the alliances of 60% of football clubs.
But the alarming rise of the problem of gambling might bring a change of scenario. According to the news headlines of the Daily Mail, West Ham’s alliance with the leading gambling sponsor, Betway might be struck down. This is mostly because of the new legislation that will be introduced by the UK government by 2023.
The Key Reason
It is highly speculated that the logo of the Betway could be prevented from the shirts of the Hammers soon enough. Besides the shirts, all the advertisements, including the TV commercials, pitch-side hoardings, and the screen-time given to the international online bookmakers in the UK might be scraped off. This might prove detrimental for the Hammers, and the far-reaching consequences might extend to the termination of the six-year alliance, which agreed to tier a sponsorship of the 60 million Euros.
Though the initiative of the Gambling Act was taken in 2005, it is only in the year 2020, when the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) started attaching importance to it, with a promising surveyed report generated by the end of 2022. The survey report would be under review, and discussion for a three-month period, after which it would be passed to the Parliament, to be enacted upon.
The DCMS spokesperson has implied the need to do so as a means to “tackle problem gambling”. The Vice-chairperson of the review committee, Duncan Smith feels that scraping off the logos from the shirts is the first initiative before implying on other fields.
Noticeable implications by the West Ham’s
It is already noticed by the fans that the West Ham United FC’s shirt has already removed the logo of Betway in the Europa League that was played in Croatia. This is due to the intervention of the local gambling laws, acting against it.
Further, the sports kits have also started manufacturing without the worldwide gambling sponsor logo. The fans of the Hammers are also encouraged to purchase their preferred jerseys and sports kits without the gambling sponsors on them.
How does Gambling Sponsorship contribute to Problem Gambling?
The era of digitalisation brought with it several detrimental effects. With phones under the governance of young minds, the international gambling sponsorships hold a lucrative vision upon the youth and sports events. Exposure to foreign gambling advertisements is drastically promoting young minds to start betting at a very young age. The data compilation of the Gambling Commission proves that young people, ageing between 11-16 years have extensively participated in gambling. Further, the 2017 survey has assured that 12% among them have shown traits of problem gambling. Recent reports have also confirmed that more than 25,000 children, under the age of 16 years are prey to gambling addiction. This has raised a unified consensus that sporting agencies in collaboration with the betting firms are surely problematic. The young tend to emulate their favourite teams and their promotions. This also implies that the promotions of advertisements of gambling agencies by the football stars are worrying.
Problem gamblers and gambling addicts, under the period of self-exclusion, are provoked very easily. Even if they have signed up in GamStop, there are high chances that they participate in international gambling by other licensing agencies like the Malta Gaming Authority, Costa Rica gaming license, Government of Gibraltar, etc.
On one hand, the schemes of the government might be observed as baneful for the footballing clubs, but on the other, one has to look into the broader perspective that the nation is dealing with. The international gambling sponsorship of the football clubs is a high promoter of the rise of problem gambling, which must be in check to prevent further damage. Though the Hammers exert no control over the decision-making, the West Ham FC partners are quite anxious about the impact of the new legislation. It is in view that sports contribute to factors that help in self-development, and what could be better than football, the favourite sport of the UK being a forbearer to prevent gambling addiction.