|The recent foray by online gambling companies into the world of football shirt sponsorship could be about to suffer a major setback, as an investigation questions whether such exposure encourages children to gamble.|
Under current law, it is illegal for gambling operators to target children with advertising, and with football being such a hugely media-exposed game, the Gambling Commission is to look into whether the football shirt sponsorship tie-ups are by-passing these laws.
Several English Premiership sides currently bear the logos of online gaming enterprises, including Middlesbrough, Tottenham Hotspur, Blackburn and Aston Villa, as well as Championship side Leeds United.
Sports Minister Richard Caborn told the Commons late on Thursday that he was aware of worries over the sponsorship deals with football clubs and that the Gambling Commission would be ‘consulting’ on the issue in the New Year.
Nigel Currie of sports marketing consultants Brand Rapport, told the BBC, 'Premiership matches are shown all over the world in over 220 countries. The gaming industry is a huge global industry now and the Premiership's an ideal way to promote themselves.'
Alarm bells will be ringing for the affected clubs, with large sums of money at stake, should any ban on shirt sponsorship come into force. Tottenham Hotspur’s Mansion deal for example, signed pre-season 2006/07, is worth £34m over four years.