La Liga Clubs Told To Remove Gambling Logo

June 11, 2020

- Grant Whittington

Nearly half of Spain’s 20 La Liga soccer clubs have gambling operator logos on emblazed on their jerseys. And all 8 teams will now have to remove the branding from their colours following recently implemented State of Emergency rules. Article 37 of the country’s Royal Decree 11/2020 states that nearly all gambling advertisements on television broadcasts are banned for as long as the emergency status is in force. The only exception is a single daily four-hour timeslot between the hours of 1am and 5am.

Teams affected by the ban are: Alevés (sponsored by Betway), Granada (Winamax), Levante UD (also sponsored by Betway), Valencia (Bwin), Leganes (also Betway), Osasuna (sponsored by Kirolbet), Sevilla (Marathon Bet), and Mallorca (Betfred-sponsored).

All 8 affected La Liga teams have been instructed to either block out the logos of gambling sponsors on their jerseys, or to remove all gambling branding altogether.

It Started Already In February

Spain had in fact as early as February implemented stricter rules set to govern gambling sponsorships. The declared national State of Emergency has now resulted in the already tight rules being tightened even further. The initial rules announced in February permitted, in addition to the 1am to 5am window of leniency, live broadcasts to take place after 8pm at night – gambling sponsorship branding intact. The ads were made subject to the following rules: no mention of bonuses, no calls to action permitted, and no information advertised or broadcast relating to any live odds.

A ray of light in the darkness is that Spain’s State of Emergency is expected to lapse on June 21st. This will hopefully mean that from June 22nd, the previous set of February-announced rules will once again apply. In-stadium gambling advertising will in all likelihood remain a no-no.

Too Much Free Time

Government has explained the decision to block gambling content in advertising during the State of Emergency as having been prompted by growing concerns over children as well as persons with gambling-related problems who are now, instead of being at school or going to an outside place of work, mostly stuck at home for long periods of time on end. The fear is that with so much free time on their hands, vulnerable individuals will ultimately succumb to bad gambling practises as a result of the copious amounts of free time in combination with being constantly confronted by gambling-related advertisements.

According to prominent Spanish sports site MARCA, the country’s Minister of Consumer Affairs, namely Alberto Garzon, has repeatedly voiced fears related to what the minister describes as “overexposure” to gambling advertisement content potentially leading to a public health crisis in the country.

Limits May Lead To Black Market

Industry trade association Jdigital has in the meantime expressed its own concerns about the original changes to gambling laws as implemented by government in February. Jdigital said that in its opinion, there now remains no space at all for licensed gambling advertisements. This is according to the association a gross infringement on the rights of sports organisations as well as tax-paying members of the country’s commercial and entertainment sectors.

The organisation made specific mention of the risk of players and bettors embracing products and services offered by black market operators for a lack of legal and regulated alternatives. The protection of the country’s bettors and players are a top priority and rightly so, said Jdigital, but the limited opportunities now at their disposal may not prove sufficient within the context of the bigger picture of preventing a stimulation of the exact opposite outcome to what had initially been intended.

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