Spain’s anti-gambling point man says online betting companies keep mounting the government’s attempt to stop betting sponsorships of local sports making it “an absurd challenge.”
Spanish online betting licensee Betway revealed last Friday that it is the current main sponsor of second division footballers RCD Espanyol de Barcelona. The deal will see Betway’s logo splashing across the team shirts at the front.
This is the second Spanish football shirt deal Betway has inked in recent weeks after the team deal with the Real Betis Balompié club in La Liga. That deal, along with the recent two-year deal between Dafabet and Cádiz CF, resulted in Spain’s Minister for Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzón, accusing betting operators of “huge recklessness.”
Garzón said these deals were being made by bookmakers despite knowing the stated intention of the government to abolish online gambling sponsorships and restrict other forms of advertising starting this October. Garzón expressed frustration at the reason the operators and footballers chose to openly defy the stated goals of the government.
Last Friday Garzón went on local radio to call the government “an absurd challenge” for the new sponsorship deals. Previously, without citing any evidence, Garzón claimed that exposing young football fans to betting brands was the equivalent of “inciting a type of consumption that can be compulsive and can lead to serious problems.”
There are currently eight La Liga clubs featuring a betting brand as their main shirt sponsor, and the league as a whole is set to derive approximately € 110 million from sponsorships during the 2020-21 season. That is a relative pittance compared to the €2.1b received or so from broadcast rights, but with COVID-19 prohibiting clubs from selling tickets to fans, every euro counts.
Which brands could replace those betting logos should Garzón’s timetable prove accurate, remains to be seen, but one Spanish affiliate suggested that beer brewers, online credit lenders and public lotteries like SELAE and ONCE could be in for more sporting exposure coming October. None of which proved harmful to anybody, ever.