Kindred Group’s online casino operator 32Red plans to use its UK football sponsorship to encourage accountable gambling even as supporters claim they do no want their clubs sponsored by betting companies.
On Tuesday, Kindred announced that in each match in which two of the clubssquare off against each other during the 2019-20 season, the five UK football clubs sponsored by 32Red would feature responsible gambling messages on the front of their jerseys.
There will be a distinctive accountable gambling message from each of the five clubs: Stay In Control (Rangers), Never Chase Losses (Preston), Play Responsible (Derby County), Keep Gambling Fun (Leeds United) and Set Deposit Limits (Middlesbrough). This Saturday sees the first meeting between these clubs–Leeds v. Derby.
Kindred’s fresh accountable gambling commitment began in a latest Rangers v. Celtic game in which Rangers ‘ shirts featured the Stay In Control message which was seen by a live crowd of over 670k.
Neil Banbury of Kindred’s UK GM said gambling firms need to do more to promote responsible gambling and football clubs have “a unique reach and cut through with adult audiences, and as such are a great avenue for promoting healthier gambling behaviour and advocating for control.”
Kindred quoted latest studies from the English Football League claiming that 71% of footie supporters were all right with gambling companies involved in the sport. Despite this newer research by the industry-funded charity GambleAware and the Association of Football Supporters (FSA) casts a more pejorative perspective of gambling patronage.
The FSA / GambleAware study discovered that if their club were to register a gambling sponsor, only 13% of participants would be pleased. Furthermore, 84% of participants took a dim perspective of gambling companies sponsoring individual players, with many quoting the latest agreement with Derby County by 32Red–which will see Wayne Rooney taking to the field wearing the number 32–as being especially objectionable.
FSA CEO Kevin Miles said football clubs have an obligation of care for their supporters and his group would be pushing clubs to do better, especially those with prominent gambling sponsors. Marc Etches, CEO of GambleAware, added that the study revealed that both clubs and gambling operators “could do more to encourage secure betting and make people, especially young people, aware of the risks.”
In that context, the fresh initiative of 32Red’s shirt is a move in the correct direction. But it also indicates a feeling of expiation for its Rooney tactic, far beyond the usual UK media suspects, which has been roundly savaged. Clearly there is a consensus that UK football’s gambling sponsorship is no longer such a big deal and even attempts to emphasise that sentiment has not gone unpunished.