In recent years up to half of Premier League clubs have had gambling shirt sponsors and the majority have betting partners. Many UK clubs even have international betting partners for sponsorship outside of the UK. There are new rules incoming, however, that could see a ban or at least some curbing of betting adverts in football.
While Premier League and EFL teams sit back and wait for incoming changes to the laws around betting sponsorships, we wondered if our European neighbours would gain a significant advantage when it came to their continued access to this revenue stream. We are also interested to see if British football is an outlier in terms of gambling sponsorship, as it would seem from press coverage, or whether other countries also have similar levels of bookmakers and casinos sponsoring football clubs.
What are the rules around betting sponsorships for the other top leagues in the Europe, the ones that are in direct competition with the English Premier League? How do they fare up and what are the rules for these guys?
La Liga Betting Sponsorship Rules
Spain, like the UK, has an incoming law change that will soon see a ban on gambling sponsorship imposed sometime in the future.
Currently, thirty out of the 42 clubs playing in the top two Spanish divisions have sponsorship deals in place with betting companies.
At the same time, seven La Liga clubs – Alavés (Betway), Cádiz (Dafabet), Granada (Winamax), Levante (Betway), Real Betis (Betway), Sevilla (MarathonBet) and Valencia (Bwin) – each have working shirt sponsorship deals with betting operators.
Serie A Betting Sponsorship Rules
Italy is way ahead of the field here as, back in 2019, a blanket ban on all gambling related sponsorships and advertising partnerships was implemented by the Italian government.
The ban, which was not exclusive to football, means that no Italian teams have domestic betting partnerships.
This ban has not stopped teams in Serie A pairing up with betting partners overseas. Juventus, for example, display the Parimatch button on their website but have car manufacturer Jeep displayed on their shirts.
Bundesliga Betting Sponsorship Rules
There appear to be no such concerns for the teams in Germany. Only this past month, Entain brand and former Real Madrid and AC Milan sponsor, bwin renewed their sponsorship deals with five German football clubs.
The teams that will continue to work with bwin are Borussia Dortmund, Union Berlin and Cologne who are all from the Bundesliga, plus Bundesliga Division 2 teams St. Pauli and Dynamo Dresden. bwin are also one of the sponsors of the German national team.
In addition, Hertha Berlin and RB Leipzig are sponsored by Betway and Unibet respectively, while back in 2018, VfB Stuttgart signed a deal with Betano.
Although many German Bundesliga teams are partnered with betting companies, there are no circumstances where teams promote a betting provider as their main shirt sponsor.
This is likely down to a ban in Germany on online slots and other casino games. The knock on effect being that clubs could be banned from being broadcast live on TV if they display on their kit logos of betting companies who also offer online casino products.
Ligue 1 Betting Sponsorship Rules
France is another country where they are yet to ban betting firms investing in football. Even the main league is sponsored by a betting company, in this case the French betting site Betclic.
Last year, Française des Jeux’s (FDJ) sports betting brand ParionsSport announced that they would be sponsoring 100 amateur football clubs from across France, providing them with a complete equipment supply set that included around 30 kits that were to be personalised with team colours and logos.
Some Other International Gambling Rules
|Country||Is Gambling legal?||Which Sports Are Eligible?||Bookies Or Online||Shirt Sponsorships Allowed|
|Argentina||Yes||Horse Racing||Bookies or Track||No|
|Holland||Available Soon||All Sports||Both||No|
|India||Varies state to state||Horse Racing, lotteries||Online mainly||No|
|New Zealand||Yes||All Sports||Both||Yes|
|Russia||Yes in permitted zones||All Sports||Both||Yes|
|South Africa||Yes||All Sports||Both||Yes|
|Turkey||Mostly||Lottery, sports betting and horse racing||Online||No|
|United Kingdom||Yes||All Sports||Both||Yes|
|USA||Varies state to state||All Sports where allowed||Both||Yes|
It would seem that the situation in the UK, with its incoming changes, is not the lawless wild west that some would make it out to be. If anything, the UK, which has led the online revolution in betting, is probably ahead of the curve when it comes to regulated betting.
While we all want access to free market betting, we also understand that betting badly can affect the poorest people in society, many of which will also be football fans. This means that the game carries a great deal of responsibility when it comes to pushing gambling.
To that end, the non-promotion of domestic betting platforms, as will be the case soon in Spain, would be a wise move. This is in contrast to the situation in Germany and France where teams and betting companies can work together virtually unrestrained.
We also need to implement changes softly because, where ever we are in Europe, there are many, many teams, still reeling from Covid restrictions, which are almost entirely reliant on betting revenue generated by sponsorships.
So while change is welcome, a steady repeal would make more sense.