In the latest challenge to the amount of space that gambling firms are taking up in football sponsorship, GVC Holdings has announced that they will ‘donate’ their branding rights to the problem gambling charity GambleAware in the upcoming 2019/20 season.
The operator, which owns Ladbrokes, Coral and a variety of other ventures in the industry, will let GambleAware use their physical sponsorship avenues, such as advertising hoardings and in-stadium billboards, to promote their BetRegret awareness campaign.
The move means that a number of high-profile clubs, including Burnley and Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion, will carry the BetRegret branding, while in the Scottish leagues the traditional Ladbrokes marketing will be replaced with GambleAware’s messages on hoardings and on interview backdrops.
Bet Regret has been a high profile campaign from GambleAware, with significant investment in TV advertisement backed by further promotion in media targeted at their main audience, which is males aged 16-34.
The move from GVC Holdings is a positive one given that there are more than two million active bettors in this age range in the UK, with 87% surveyed by the organisation confirming that they watch football regularly.
“Whilst we want football fans to be able to enjoy a bet, we recognise the importance of doing this in a safe, responsible way,” said Patrick Kerr, GVC’s director of safe gambling.
“Handing over this valuable inventory to GambleAware is a demonstration that we are committed to helping our customers bet in a safe and responsible way, and we look forward to continuing to promote the Bet Regret campaign in the future to help increase awareness about safer gambling.”
Rival firm Paddy Power has recently launched their own mission to cut the promotion of gambling in football, refusing to have their logo emblazoned on the front of shirt of the team they sponsor, Huddersfield Town (after a typically cheeky PR stunt, that is).
The Irish firm’s ‘Save Our Shirt’ campaign has seen them strike deals with another of clubs around the UK, but forgoing their right to a sponsorship logo on the front of their strips.
This announcement comes just three months after it was revealed that GVC topped the list of voluntary donations to GambleAware in the period 2018/19.
The group has now donated more than £1.4 million to the cause in the 12-month period between March 2018 and ’19, which is more than any other gambling-focused firm.
William Hill were next on the list with a nice round £1 million, while bet365 swelled the coffers of the gambling charity by nearly £900,000.
Betting firms in the UK have to make a donation to problem gambling charities as part of their licence agreement, although it has been noted that all are willing or able to play ball.
That led to GambleAware calling for UK operators to be more generous in their donations, after it was revealed that industry funding hadn’t met the target level in the previous financial year.
In total, an amount of £9.6 million was donated to charities in the 12 months until March, which is a decent chunk shy of the £10 million that GambleAware have requested to tackle the growing issue of problem gambling in the UK.