Global Lottery Monitoring Systems (GLMS) has advised industry stakeholders to ‘take strong action to protect themselves’ from the risks of unregulated sponsorships.
GLMS sought to raise awareness of the ‘scope and scale of betting sponsorships’ by publishing ‘A study of betting operators and their sponsorship of sport.’
The research aims to ‘illustrate how some betting operators exploit these partnerships with sports teams to market to customers in jurisdictions (particularly in asia) where most online betting is illegal18 or where national jurisdiction is prohibition.’
GLMS encouraged national and global sports bodies to introduce new guidelines regulating gambling sponsorships, in addition to those established by national gambling regulators, within the report.
GMLS also suggested that official governing bodies of all sports ‘review and set their own rules on sponsorships and marketing involving betting operators and non-local sponsors, while conducting their own due diligence regularly to ensure compliance’
Also among the recommendations made by GLMS was the localization of sponsorship deals, with the integrity body stressing that ‘any form of display or labelling in stadiums or on shirts should only be permitted in appropriate local languages or forms of text.’
Penalties should also be considered for clubs found to be in violation of GLMS betting sponsorship laws, while awareness-raising initiatives for competition managers and team sponsorship workers should also be placed in place to better recognise the different risks associated with betting sponsorships.
GLMS said: “There is an increasing trend of betting sponsorships on sports – on shirts, at stadiums, in marketing materials and being affiliated betting partners of the teams and even the competitions. The growth of these sponsorships, as evident in the elite football and basketball competitions, might bring short-term financial gains to the teams.
“However, integrity risks and impacts might arise when the unregulated betting operators could ride on sponsorships or marketing deals to advertise their brands and products in overseas markets where betting is illegal and advertising of it may be restricted.
“Online illegal betting platforms are increasingly sophisticated, the ‘face’ of illegal operators is becoming legitimized through sponsorships of sports teams. It also involves offshore betting conducted by non – or low – tax paying and unregulated operators, leading to confidence and integrity in sports being compromised. If any of the betting sponsorships are linked to illegal operators, illegal betting or organised crime, it could also damage reputation and public trust in sports and sports development is stunted.
“Official governing bodies and teams should carefully weigh up the pros and cons of having their valuable brands associated with potentially disreputable partners, especially the grey- and black-market betting operators, and conduct extensive research into potential partners to avoid such risks.”