The world of football sponsorship is big business. Jägermeister’s 500,000 Deutschmark sponsorship of Eintracht Braunschweig opened clubs’ eyes to the big money available. At the same time, the brands themselves understood the appeal of sponsoring a football club. They saw the opportunity to raise awareness and brand recongition with a captive audience of spectators. Viewership of the sport has gone supersonic since those early days of 1973. This has made it worth even more to the brands, allowing clubs to charge increasingly large sums.
The first sponsorship in English football saw Kettering Tyres emblazoned on the shirts of local Kettering Town for a match against Bath City in 1976. In 1979, Liverpool became the first professional club to do so, signing a sponsorship deal with Hitachi that saw the club receive £100,000 for wearing the shirts in non-televised games. In the modern era, betting companies have moved to get their share of a competitive market, with as many as half of all Premier League teams having a gambling sponsor at one point. That included casinos, who wanted to get their own slice of the action. So which casinos have done it?
Gambling & Football
The Football Pools first hit the market in 1923, eventually becoming one of the biggest forms of betting on the sport in the country. The UK government legalised betting on football courtesy of bookmakers in the 1960s. It is hardly a surprise, therefore, that the gambling industry and football have strong links. In 2002, Fulham became the first English football club sponsored by a gambling firm, taking on a deal with Betfair. This was a sign of things to come.
Gambling is one of the sectors which can afford the large sums of money demanded by football clubs for shirt sponsorship today. Given the huge link between gambling and football, it isn’t a surprise that casinos were quick to get in on the act. The Gambling Act in 2005 further relaxed UK laws on betting. It was then only a matter of time before casinos began to be advertised more widely. Soon, it was common for fans to see football clubs sponsored by casinos.
Casinos For Sale
It isn’t actually that easy to figure out exactly which casinos specifically have sponsored football clubs, as opposed to just generic sports betting platforms. Nowadays, of course, pretty much all online sports platforms have associated casinos. Companies which began life as online casinos have had sportsbooks attached to them.
That obviously makes it even trickier to know about the casinos for sale for the highest price. It makes complete sense for casinos to want to be involved, knowing how big the audience of potential customers is for them by being involved with football teams via sponsorship deals.
Here is a look at the casinos that we know have sponsored football clubs at one point or another:
- Casino Cruise
- Genesis Casino
- Casumo Casino
Whilst not exhaustive, this list gives a sense of the type of companies increasingly involved with football for their own financial gains. Whilst values for sponsorship are to an extent nebulous, with the precise return on investment unclear, the brand recognition is highly-valued by casinos operating in a competitive market.
The Future is Bleak For Casino Sponsorship
Casinos currently sponsoring football clubs need to make their hay whilst the sun is shining. Premier League clubs have collectively agreed to stop the practice of sponsorship by gambling companies. There are, however, some caveats to this rules change. The withdrawal with only count on the front of shirts, with gambling companies still able to sponsor shirt sleeves. The change will also only come into affect at the end of the 2025/26 campaign. Not only can existing deals run until then, but clubs can make new deals provided they end by this point in time.
Therefore, casinos have a few more years of front-of-shirt sponsorship, before they are likely moved to the shirt sleeves. This is far from ideal for the casinos, who would prefer the prominence that comes with being the main shirt sponsor. However, any appearance on a Premier League club’s shirt still provides great visibility and brand recognition.
Not being the main sponsor will make a difference and appease some campaigners on gambling addiction. However, football remains seriously big-money business. The clubs are engaged in fierce competition to raise revenues to keep up in the arms race of player transfer fees and salaries. Therefore it is hard to see football and gambing sponsors ever completely parting ways.