German Fan Group Calls For Crackdown On Gambling-Sports Links

January 14, 2022
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A German fan organisation is calling for stricter regulation of football’s links to sports betting, saying clubs have had “far too much emphasis on profit” and not enough consideration of the potential for gambling addiction.

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A German fan organisation is calling for stricter regulation of football’s links to sports betting, saying clubs have had “far too much emphasis on profit” and not enough consideration of the potential for gambling addiction.

The move follows gambling advertising sponsorship bans in Italy and Spain, and in November, nine UK-based football fan groups uniting to call for bans on sports sponsorships and gambling advertising with a group called Football Supporters Against Gambling Ads.

The call for severe restrictions by fan group Unsere Kurve may have more impact in Germany than some other countries, however, as German Football League (DFL) rules mean commercial investors can never have more than a 49 percent stake in Bundesliga clubs.

Until 1998, private ownership was banned, and the current “50 plus 1” rule means that fans have majority voting rights in many clubs.

Unsere Kurve represents 21 fan organisations with more than 100,000 members.

It is asking the government to “immediately regulate” gambling advertising in public spaces, sports-related media and to emphasise education and protection.

The group is demanding that clubs and leagues launch programmes seeking to raise awareness of potential gambling addiction, sign no new sponsorship deals, allow existing ones to expire and institute a ban on active athletes appearing in adverts.

The association is also asking clubs and leagues with existing contracts to donate at least half of their gambling partnership income to independent and “state-recognised prevention measures”.

The group wants politicians to impose warnings on betting sites such as “profits do not increase significantly through mature expert knowledge” and to ban ads with former or current athletes.

Gambling sponsors in Germany include Tipico, which sponsors Bayern Munich and the Bundesliga itself, while Entain’s Bwin sponsors Borussia Dortmund, FC Cologne, St Pauli, Dynamo Dresden and Union Berlin.

This month, a German subsidiary of 888 Holdings was named a partner of Bundesliga’s RB Leipzig.

A spokesman for the German Sports Betting Association (DSWV) referred a request for comment to the group’s November statement, which said it “emphatically rejects” calls for advertising bans as they would be “an economic stimulus for black-market providers”.

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