Polish Football May Lose Online Gambling Sponsorship

Written by Michael F. on 2009-11-30 at 12:18
Bet on sports in Poland - GamingZion
Last week, Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski signed a bill limiting all land-based gambling in Poland to licensed casinos, and banning slot machines in all non-casino venues. The bill also outlaws the marketing and advertising of gambling in the country, though it does not address sponsorship of Polish sports teams by online sportsbooks. Many of Poland’s top football teams are supported financially by foreign-based sportsbook operators, and their jerseys bear the logos and embalms of these companies.

Discussion is about to begin on a new draft legislation that would introduce further changes to Polish gambling laws. The proposed legislation would place severe restrictions on online gambling in the country, and would also place a ban on the sponsorship of Poland’s sports teams by companies in the e-gaming industry.

Under the proposed legislation it will still be legal to bet on sports in Poland, but Polish teams would not be allowed to wear shirts advertising online sportsbooks. Naturally, the thought of losing this lucrative source of sponsorship has Polish teams alarmed. Online gambling sponsorships of Polish sports teams currently amounts to approximately 50 million Polish zloties ($18.2 million) annually. This new legislation would be devastating to the teams that receive this money.

Sponsorship of European football clubs by online sportsbook operators is becoming more and more common. For example, by early 2010 France will open its doors to the world of online gambling, and Ligue 1 clubs Lyon and Marseille will start wearing shirts carrying the logo of a major European sportsbook starting in January. Other countries have taken the opposite route: online sportsbook sponsorship of teams in Russia and Ukraine is currently illegal, and Portugal’s football league recently lost its sportsbook sponsorship after the country’s state-controlled gambling operator won a battle in court.

This proposed legislation in Poland is still preliminary, and the outcome could go either way. The proposed changes are certain to bring up a lot of arguments from both sides. There is no estimation on when a decision will be made.

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