European football clubs and leagues are awash with sponsors from gambling companies.
Recently, there is a growing trend among gambling firms based in Asia to advertise in European football. Sports experts have raised alarm that this might compromise the integrity of many leagues and clubs.
The report was recently published by the Global Lottery Management System. The firm reported that Asian-based gambling companies pose a significant threat to the integrity of European football.
European Football Risk
In the English Premier League alone, multiple clubs have sponsorship deals with gambling firms. This ranges from stadium banners, pitch advertisements, and kit branding. These sponsorship deals are also offered to individual athletes.
Aside from the English Premier league, many football leagues across Europe are also embracing lucrative sponsorship deals with gambling companies. Top football clubs in Italy, France, Netherlands, and Spain are among the major football countries that have gambling sponsorship deals.
According to the report, this sponsorship practice:
“Illustrate how some betting operators exploit these partnerships with sports teams to market to customers in jurisdiction (particularly in Asia) where most online betting is illegal or where the national jurisdiction practices prohibition.”
The report have noted that majority of 188 European teams have betting firms as their sponsors. A quarter of these clubs have logos of gambling firms on their sporting kits. The report added that a third of these clubs have sponsorship deals with companies operating in rather suspicious environments.
The report also noted that 10 English Premier League clubs have gambling sponsors. Six of these clubs use Chinese characters on their shirts. Two clubs in particular, Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton, have ManBetX as their sponsor.
In the Spanish La Liga, Betway also sponsors multiple clubs. These clubs are Levante, Leganes, and Alaves. Gambling operators sponsoring multiple clubs in the same league is not uncommon in Europe.
Gambling in Asia
Many countries in Asia have strict gambling laws. In some major markets, gambling is totally illegal.
Such operations put the integrity of football leagues and clubs in a balance. Most of these deals are extremely attractive to clubs, with some firms offering double what other sponsors might offer.
Recently, someone in the Philippines placed a giant bet for the relegation of Wigan Athletic. The bet forced the club into near bankruptcy and placed the club at the centre of Asian black market gambling.
LeTou, a multiple-language platform from the Philippines, sponsored Swansea City kits in 2017. The company also operates in Europe under the TGP banner.
The proliferation of these gambling operators as sponsors in major football clubs in Europe have raised concerns from many parties. Some have noted that these firms are operating in various grey areas.
Despite being illegal in many Asian countries, gambling operators are still finding ways to bypass various laws. The proliferation of gambling operators from Asia in European market is a testament to this.
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