The inclusion of bookmakers and casinos on football jerseys is always a real contentious issue. On one hand, gambling is a nasty vice that can seriously uplift someone’s life, and promoting these companies isn’t the best course of action. Saying that, these bookies are willing to pay clubs a nice price to have their logo printed on the front of a team’s shirt.
So, it’s understandable to see why teams agree to sponsorship deals with these bookmakers or casinos. Especially, away from the glitz and glamour of the major European leagues.
This debate kick started once again in the League of Ireland over the past several weeks.
Leading up to the 2021 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division, Shamrock Rovers announced 888 as the club’s main official sponsor.
The agreement will see 888sport branding throughout Tallaght Stadium, and on the front of the famous hoop jersey this season.
While this partnership may not be ethically correct, financially speaking it can only be beneficial for the reigning Premier Division champions.
Dundalk will also be sponsored by online casino BetRegal for the upcoming campaign.
Can Clubs Afford To Say No?
Unfortunately, at League of Ireland level clubs can’t take the high horse when it comes to morals.
It can be very disappointing from a fan perspective, watching your club link up with an industry that ravage money from people daily. Yes, personal responsibility must come into play too, but in an ideal world these partnerships may not be happening.
Simply put, clubs can’t afford to turn away lucrative deals, no matter who it is coming in with the offer. Money talks at all levels of football, revenue streams can’t be closed on ethical grounds.
Betting companies on football jerseys is a long-standing practice, and one that is seemingly here to stay.
Covid-19 has rocked the Irish domestic league to its very core.
With no match-day revenue on the horizon for the foreseeable future, no club can turn down an offer of financial backing to run the club throughout these trying times.
Many supporters would love to see social responsibility come into play. The betting industry prays on addiction, just like tobacco and alcohol corporations.
However, beggars can’t be choosers when other large companies aren’t queuing up to sponsor the league or the clubs within it.
The hatred of gambling companies as sponsors is justified, but it’s necessary to agree with any partner that comes knocking with finical security within the league. Holding the moral high ground could be disastrous for clubs.
The way it is, gambling companies have been apart of the sporting world for decades now. While supporters may complain about betting sponsorship deals, surely, they would rather see their club survive rather than get up on their high horse.
It’s a debate that’ll truly very be settled. Some have a healthy relationship with gambling, while others don’t or didn’t have that luxury.
The FAI even recently turned down an offer to partner with a gambling company last month. Surprising when you consider the financial state the organisation finds itself in. Plus, the fact the international team is still without a sponsor.
While League of Ireland Director Mark Scanlon has no issue with clubs like Shamrock Rovers or Dundalk striking deals with bookmakers or casinos.
Whatever your own personal stance is on gambling sponsorship deals, they won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon.
So, now it’s time to pass it over to you.
What’s your opinion of betting company sponsorship deals? Let us know in the comment section below.
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