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La Liga facing ban on betting sponsorship

Spanish football clubs could face a major sponsorship shakeup, as Spain’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs propose plans to heavily reduce marketing opportunities for gambling firms in professional sport. The proposal will have a significant impact on 17 of La Liga’s 20 clubs who currently have gambling agreements.

According to El Confidencial, Alberto Garzón, part of the government department, plans to ban advertising of gambling firms across TV, radio and other video outlets to be limited to an hour a day between 1am and 5am. In addition, he wants to ban betting sports sponsorship on team kits and in stadiums. Thus, prohibiting branding from gambling firms to appear in stadiums during live events.

Sent to the European Commission on July 9, the restrictions are predicted to be enforced in February 2021, including a ban on gambling advertising for events taking place before 8pm. Further restrictions on sponsorship only apply to logos appearing on children’s sports shirts. A rule currently utilised by clubs in England.

The proposal of new restrictions regarding betting firms includes the prohibition of using the ‘name brand or trade name of a betting operator to identify a sports facility or entertainment facility’. Additionally, ‘no sponsorship activities may be carried out that involve substituting or adding to the name of a team or sports competition or of any other entity outside the sector of gambling and betting, the name or commercial name of an operator’. Consequently, obstructing gambling firms to acquire naming rights partnerships.

Welcome offers could also be tightened with a maximum amount of €100 (US$113) able to be proposed. This will only be accessible to customers who have had an open betting account for at least a month, in addition to having the required verified documents having made at least three deposit payments.

The new ruling will cause concern for La Liga clubs who currently have agreements with betting firms and front-of-shirt sponsorships with betting firms where their logos are visible on their shirts. Also, La Liga have its own deal with Sportium, the league’s official gambling partner. The new restrictions are part of the 'shared concern about the increase of gambling in the lives of young generations as a form of leisure'.

The purpose of the new regulations is to address the regularity of bonus offers and promotions appearing, targeted to consumers, to combat 'the risks of overexposure to betting and gambling advertising through the mass media and the internet'.

Following the House of Lords committee report addressing the banning of betting sport sponsorship in professional football in England and the English Football League (EFL) response, it seems that gambling firms are undertreat from sport organisations due to their potential risk to consumers.

Author: James Parker