With Ladbrokes making a decision to no longer provide money for its £2-million-a-year sponsorship with Scottish football, the uneasy relationship between football and gambling has been only highlighted.
According to some analysts, it is high time for football clubs’ chiefs to start looking for ways other than joining forces with gambling companies, especially considering the fact that football clubs have long been blamed for their relationship with gambling. On the other hand, experts have projected that there could be other companies’ exodus from their football club sponsorship agreements, despite their unwillingness to leave the national sport.
Scottish football leagues have been sponsored by bookmakers for years now, with the cups and the two biggest teams also benefiting from lucrative deals with gambling companies. The clubs’ bosses have been happy to get the benefits from the large sponsorship deals, even if they were not that willing to talk about these sponsorships.
The importance of a number of bookmakers, including William Hill, Ladbrokes, 32Red, Betfred and Dafabet, to the three national cup competitions has been growing over the past few years. Both the football clubs and the gambling operators have been facing strong criticism for the fact that they could be targeting underage individuals.
Ladbrokes Would Not Renew Sponsorship Agreement with SPFL after 2019/20 Season
In order to prevent bookmakers from targeting youngsters, the governing body suspends players from placing bets on football while being active in the game.
Now, with Ladbrokes making the aforementioned changes to its sponsorship to the Scottish football, experts believe that other operators must follow suit. The owner of Ladbrokes, GVC Holdings, put an end to the multimillion contract with the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), which was due to be through at the end of the current season, over concerns that its advertising was not responsible.
Since 2015, GVC Holdings has been sponsoring the Scottish leagues. According to some analysts, the decision of the company to end its partnership agreement with the SPFL was part of a wider industry move aimed at avoiding advertising in areas in which gambling companies would be criticised. Lately, betting firms have obviously become more cautious of their sponsorship agreements, especially at a time when they could be scolded for encouraging children to gamble.
As mentioned above, GVC Holdings’ brand Ladbrokes will not renew its sponsorship with the Scottish Professional Football League after the ending of the 2019/20 season.
It seems that a change of strategy has been on the table, but unfortunately, it could turn out to be very costly for the Scottish football. Some clubs, such as Rangers and Celtic should not face too many difficulties to find other sponsors, but the Scottish Football Association (SFA) and the SPFL could be troubled to find new financial supporters.