BOSE Digital: Betting searches for its new collaborative approach with football

Sponsorship works as a mutually beneficial funding mechanism between betting companies and football. However, if such partnerships are outlawed, new paths must be discovered for co-operation in the future.

That was the general consensus during a panel titled Funding of Football on day one of Betting on Sports Europe – Digital 2020.  Moderated by CMS Partner David Zeffman, the panel saw industry professionals come together to discuss the paths of future cooperation between betting and football if sponsorship partnerships are to be banned following the review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

All the panel members, including Zeffman, Football Media CEO Dean Akinjobi; GLMS Legal and Projects Manager Cassandra Matilde Fernandes; and Connecting Brands Founder Russell Yershon, encouraged due diligence as the most important aspect of any future partnership between betting companies and football organisations.

Akinjobi failed to agree with the notion that betting’s presence in football is a bad thing or that it increases problem gambling, as he believes it is important to understand who your sponsors are. 

He said: “There’s a place for sports betting and sponsorship in football. Responsible gambling really needs to be at the forefront of everything that is promoted in order for it to be sustainable.

“It contributes to a huge amount of revenue for clubs. It contributes to a huge amount of tax as well. With regards to problem gambling, the industry as a whole needs to take a lot of responsibility for that, but it doesn’t mean there should be a blanket ban on the entire industry.

“It has to be a holistic approach. I don’t think there should be a blanket ban. There should be much more of a collaborative approach.”

Akinjobi added that if betting sponsorship was outlawed, it would harm a lot of English football clubs outside of the Premier League who rely on bookmaker income as a key source of revenue, especially since they are already dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on football finances.

He continued: “If you look at the impact it would have on clubs outside of the Premier League, it could potentially be catastrophic as some of these betting partners and sponsors are the key revenue line guarantee every season.

“It will be a ripple effect from the Premier League downwards because of the huge gap in finances that could potentially have a ripple effect on player and staff recruitment. It will have a huge effect on the whole functioning of clubs and lower leagues.

“It really needs to be thought through because the impact of what clubs are going through right now in regards to COVID, lack of fans in stadiums, as well as ‘Project Big Picture’ and ‘European Super League’, clubs are under a lot of pressure. You have to take a step back and realise these clubs are a real core part of these communities. 

“Yes, regulators are looking at protecting consumers, but if these communities and clubs aren’t there anymore, then it destroys an industry and takes the heart out of a community.”

All the panel members also believed that there must be an advertising relationship between sports and betting.

Yershon said that the relationship between sports and betting is ‘intrinsic’ for sports like horse racing and darts, and while it’s not so essential for football, they’re ‘100% aligned’ with regulating gambling and making sure the rules are followed.

Fernandes reaffirmed her agreement that regulations are needed to make sure everyone is ‘being careful’ as well as to ‘safeguard the stakeholders, the consumer, and the sport itself’, especially during the current world climate.

Betting on Sports Europe – Digital is the foremost conference for senior executives from European sports betting operators, providing a forum for high-level discussions that will help to shape the future of the industry.

The fully virtual event will bring together major players from markets across the continent on a single platform, where they will share best practice for tackling the industry’s major challenges and ideas about emerging opportunities.

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Betting on Sports Europe – Digital is the foremost conference for senior executives from European sports betting operators, providing a forum for high-level discussions that will help to shape the future of the industry.

The fully virtual event will bring together major players from markets across the continent on a single platform, where they will share best practice for tackling the industry’s major challenges and ideas about emerging opportunities.

To register for your free ticket, click HERE.

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