Italian football club AC Milan has inked its first Asian regional sponsorship deal with online gambling operator Vwin.
On Monday, the Philippine-licensed Vwin announced its new role as Official Regional Partner of Serie A side AC Milan, marking the first such regional deal with the club. Club COO Lorenzo Giorgetti said the deal marked an “important step in the development of our commercial strategy in this key market.”
Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, while the duration was described only as “multi-year.” Vwin inked a similar partnership with Milan’s Serie A rival Juventus one year ago. Vwin doesn’t have a license to offer wagers in Italy, meaning the deal is entirely focused on boosting the operator’s profile among football-mad Asian punters.
UK BETTING SITES SCORE YOUTH TEAM OWN GOAL
In less positive sponsorship news, several UK-licensed online gambling operators are wearing egg on their faces after some of the English Premier League clubs they sponsor posted images of their junior teams’ players wearing official kit emblazoned with the betting companies’ logos.
The Sunday Times was first to spot the posts, which featured underage players for teams including Newcastle United, Stoke City, Swansea City and West Ham United, wearing kit promoting their respective sponsors Fun88, Bet365, Letou and Betway.
The photos were taken offline following publication of the Times’ investigation, and the embarrassed clubs claimed the photos had been ‘inadvertently’ uploaded.
The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) acknowledged that the photos represented a breach of the existing gambling advertising rules but RGA CEO Clive Hawkswood suggested the “inappropriate” usage was down to the clubs’ “marketing guys,” who “just treat it as any other product.”
The timing of this cockup couldn’t be worse for UK online gambling operators, whose activities are under an increasingly powerful microscope. Last October, the UK Gambling Commission and other regulatory bodies specifically ordered online operators to purge kid-friendly marketing from their websites, even if the activity being promoted wasn’t for real-money play.
That same month, the UK government’s triennial review of the gambling industry opted not to impose further restrictions on advertising on television or via team sponsorship, based on studies that showed “the prevalence of advertising did not appear to be linked with the prevalence of problem gambling.” Operators would be wise not to give the government cause to rethink this conclusion.