In June, English football club Everton announced a new sponsorship deal with Stake.com, an online gambling company specializing in sports betting and online casino games.
Stake.com replaced Cazoo sponsorship, and the gambling company's logo will be featured on the T-shirt's front, both for men's and women's teams. This is not the only agreement when it comes to the record deal, as the logo will appear both on screens and backdrops of the club's stadiums.
£10 Million Deal Makes Chief Executive Forget Prior Comments
Even if the sponsorship reportedly brings over £10 million to the club, fans and media have not forgotten what Everton's Chief Executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale declared in January 2020.
In the context of the Annual General Meeting for 2020, Baxendale said that, ideally, they would prefer other sponsors different from betting or casino companies.
English football fans and Everton fans are concerned that gambling sponsorships in football only add to a national problem on the rise: gambling addiction.
Fans have also created online petitions against the new deal in hopes that the football club will reconsider its decision or the terms of its agreement.
Besides, the main concern is that gambling sponsorship only deepens irresponsible betting and gambling behaviours. Fans also worry that online casino promotions will reach the wrong target audiences, like children or teenagers that enjoy and love football.
Another problem that arises besides fans' petitions demanding an end to football and online gambling companies' partnerships is the UK government's expected gambling reform.
After other EU countries like Belgium and Italy decided to impose a ban on gambling promotion, there were rumours that the UK might follow their steps. That could be a good reason why Stake.com and Everton's sponsorship has attracted so many commentators and a media frenzy.
In contrast, other legal operators and online casinos have been reluctant to close deals.
Everton was hoping for a long-term partnership with Stake.com
While Everton's next move regarding its new deal remains uncertain, the club's Chief Executive, Denise Barrett-Baxendale, seems to have left behind her past comments on betting companies and sponsorships.
She declared in June for the announcement of the new deal: ‘Stake.com is an ambitious organization with impressive growth plans, and we're all very excited to enter into a partnership with them at this stage in their journey.'
‘My talented colleagues in our new Revenue Team have made excellent progress in recent months and worked tirelessly to secure what is the biggest main partnership deal in the Club's history – I'd like to congratulate them on this achievement and, on behalf of everyone at the Club, express my gratitude to Stake.com for choosing Everton as a long-term partner.'
‘Finally, I am pleased to say that we have already been working with Stake.com on exciting activities and content for our local and international supporters. We look forward to sharing more detail on these plans soon.
How can people gamble safely?
Most concerns about football teams partnering with online casinos are the rise of gambling addiction and the exposure of minors to casino games. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure and promote safe practices, which many casinos already offer to their players:
Restricting minors' access
Accounts for online casinos and sports betting sites are not as easy to set up as they were in the past. You're not just required to enter a random birthdate to show that you are of legal age.
Instead, most sites require access to your bank account and banking information, which most underage kids do not have. Even if they had a bank account, it would be linked with a parent or guardian account; therefore, they would most likely get a notification.
Promoting gamble as an entertainment practice.
Gambling and online casino games are not some of the shortcuts to getting rich. Reputable online casinos and betting websites refer to their products as means of entertainment and do not endorse them as ways to make money quickly or replace jobs. This is indeed true.
Whether it's roulette games, slots, or sports betting, they should be seen as a leisure activity, an way to spend some time and relax, never as a means to get rich quickly.
Allowing limits on the amounts you can spend.
To gamble safely, keeping healthy limits and boundaries regarding your money is essential. Serious and legal operators often offer features that allow players to set the exact amounts of money they are willing to spend. If they reach a specific limit, they will not be allowed to continue betting or playing.
Also, for those who struggle with taking a break from online casino games, some providers offer the possibility to delete an account for a given amount of time permanently.
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