Sports sponsorship by betting firms is no longer a new phenomenon in developed economies such as Spain, the U.K., and Australia, with most firms sponsoring various football divisions in these countries. Conspicuously missing from this list is the U.S., which has over the years set tough gambling laws in order to protect our sports from the pry of big companies like Fanduel and Draftkings. However, Hail-Mary change is in the air, with major leagues in the U.S. striking deals in order to land a number of sponsorships with gambling firms.
But Why the Tough Laws on Betting Sponsorships?
The U.S is well known to have a protectionist attitude toward gambling. Several anti-betting laws that protect U.S. citizens allow betting with companies from Vegas, while in Vegas, but do not allow U.S. citizens to bet with international bookmaking firms based abroad or online. However, in order to understand this, there is a need to understand the reasons why the U.S. has tough laws on betting firm sponsorships.
According to a study conducted in this economy, there is a direct relationship between sports betting and racetrack betting, being essentially one in the same as far as statistics are concerned. The study found that people living close to the gambling venues were likely to be dragged into betting, unlike those who lived far away from these venues. This is in direct contrast to casino gambling which can bring new money to improvised areas, but also it can drive down home values at moderate distances.
In addition to the distance, more people gamble at different rates especially those who lived closer to gambling venues. This has led to the developing of gambling addiction, a disorder in a greater percentage of gamblers in the U.S. than any other countries, but it is isolated to these areas.
The community’s at large have made efforts to constantly raise the awareness of the negative effects of gambling and they have worked. By sponsoring events and teams, the studys show, that children are more likely to engage in gambling activities thanks to the constant advertisements by both sports gambling firms and other brands they recognize. Legislation was made to stop this, and it has never changed, until now.
The Recent Betting Sponsorships in the U.S
Despite the tough laws, the federal government is now easing up, with various leagues now being sponsored in open and in secret. Moreover, odds makers and betting prognosticators making betting become as easy as possible in this digital age. Some of the groundwork already being done for betting sponsorships are now in course, mainly targeting the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. Some of the recent developments include;
• As of July 2015, the National Basketball Association landed a sponsorship from FanDuel, powered by NumberFire, a New York based company that offers sophisticated sports analysis on a daily basis. This touches on sports wagering, daily fantasy and betting recommendations on NBA’s own games.
• Also in 2015, the National Basketball Association extended a deal with Perform, an London based betting firm, synonymous with the “Watch & Bet” channel, which allows viewers to stream and bet NBA matches in Europe, legally.
• In November 2015, Major League Baseball a boost, getting a sponsorship from Sport Integrity Monitor, a London based betting firm that monitors betting lines while also identifying baseball fixed matches. Sports Integrity Monitor also sets odds, provides betting software for legal bookmakers in Asia and Europe.
• In April 2016, the National Football League became part of Sportrada U.S., a Swiss based company which provides real time statistics, odds to bookmakers and scores. It’s worth noting that Sportrada is working along with Facebook to bring Facebook Stadium, allowing live streaming of sporting events within Facebook. England is the leader in sports betting and their Football (soccer) Association is set to test this in the 2016-2017 Premier League mid-August, 2016.
What’s in for the U.S On Betting Sponsorship Deals?
As much as the federal government has the obligation of protecting the integrity of sports, betting firms have a huge role to play in various leagues or sports they are sponsoring. Betting companies have access to more data, unlike the federal government on identifying the leagues or sports books that engage in match fixing making to possible to clean them up.
Different league officials have thrown their weight behind such sponsorships, saying that it will help in clearing many scandals that have been hitting these leagues, like experienced in the recent professional tennis federation. According to a report by Buzzfeed and BBC, in January 2016, top 50 players were involved in fixing of matches where the sports integrity unit was aware but overlooked the information.
Much of the betting sponsorships are aimed at making professional sports attractive. This is through making lower pro leagues and armature sports more attractive, making them top level competitive sports in the long run. However, we cannot dispute the reasons why U.S is far behind when it comes to allowing betting companies to sponsor various leagues, managed sports betting is illegal.
There is a constantly blurring line between gambling on sports in the U.S. leaving some of the sports fans polarized, begging the question; Is betting sponsorship aimed at making it all better or just a loophole to showcase pure greed of the betting firms?