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Online Casinos take over Professional Sports Sponsorship
Its not news to anyone who gambles that online gambling and in particular, online casinos, have blossomed over the last two decades. But that fact has recently been brought to every sports fans attention by the people who sponsor their sport or team. If you watch football in the UK where 60% of the teams in the top two leagues are sponsored by gambling companies, with a massive 17 out of 24 in the championship, you can't fail to have noticed. Added to that, three of the EFL divisions are sponsored by Sky bet with their name all over the coverage however you watch it or even listen to it.

Many of these sponsors are new to the public and it can be quite confusing as to what some of them represent, especially as many now have names that don't tell you anything relatable to gambling. For the likes of Huddesfield Town who have OPE, QPR with Royal Panda and particularly Bristol City who are sponsored by Dunder, it is not clear what they are all about. So if you are inclined to find out if your sponsor is one of the best online casinos you're probably best of checking an online casinos review website to compare the deals on offer.

It is not just football that is reaping rewards from gambling advertising. Pretty much all sports in Australia rely on a direct link to online gambling which is not a surprise as Australians gamble more per head of population than any other nation on the planet.

Of course the big target for gambling marketing money is the USA. Until recently online gambling was nearly completely illegal across the 50 states with the exception on some inter-state websites which did not take a lot of action. But now there is a gradual repeal of anti-gambling laws in a state-by-state rollout after the Supreme Court took down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 which restricted legal sports betting to only Nevada. That ruling earlier this year has meant MGN Resorts has become the first official gaming sponsor of a sport after signing up to be the official gaming partner of the NBA and WNBA. Many other sports are now rubing their hands in expectation of a wall of money coming their way.

MKTG Canada President and CEO Brian Cooper said, “This will be a tsunami of money for teams and TV rights holders”.

Recently, Sean Bratches, the marketing director of Liberty Media's new acquisition, the Formula One World Championship said they want to enhance fan engagement through an improved offering and he was referring to the development of in-play betting markets during Grand Prix. This announcement comes immediately after their new deal with Sportradar who buy up the rights to sports data and sell it on to bookmakers. But the cost of buying space in the F1 marketing world is so expensive it is likely that the real bookmakers target is the F1 fans who can be persuaded to bet on other sports.

Of course there are many opposed to gambling sponsorship of sports. In 2017 the English FA cut its ties with Ladbrokes after realsiing it didn't any make sense when they themselves had banned all players from betting on any football match anywhere in the world whilst they were still involved in football. Furthermore the FA has gone to say it will ban any new owner of Wembley Stadium from using gambling sponsors which no doubt has decreased the value of the stadium to Shahid Khan, owner of Fulham FC and NFL side Jacksonville Jaguars. His offer is still thought to be worth £900m.

So there is a battleground set for a war between gambling money and those looking to halt the spread of gambling for many reasons, not least the protection of vulnerable people that the governemnt gave up on long ago. This is going to rumble on for decades to come.
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