Will the Ban Called by House of Lords on Gambling Sponsorship Play an Adverse Role for Esports?

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For addressing all the betting related issues in the UK, British House of Lords nominated members of the committee on the socioeconomic impact of the gambling industry. It has recommended a ban on gambling companies to the government of the United Kingdom. In the recommendation, the committee has appealed to the government for prohibiting gambling companies from sponsoring sports teams or events.

According to the committee, owing to the introduction of the Gambling Act 2005, the “liberalisation” of gambling has taken place. And the availability of gambling options on smartphones and other portable devices, merged with the “soft-touch regulation” of these companies has started a squall of issues regarding gambling in the United Kingdom.

Highlighting this concern, the committee led by Lord Grade, the former chairman of ITV and BBC, has submitted 66 recommendations, urging the Gambling Commission and the government to adhere for the sake of customer security.

The selected committee of the House of Lords on Social Economic impact of the gambling industry called a meeting for collecting information from a few of their representatives.
Chief executive of GVC Holdings, Kenny Alexander, Chief Executive of William Hill, Ulrik Bengtsson, Chief Executive of Sky Betting and Gaming Ian Proctor, Bet365’s Joint Chief Executive, John Coates, and Chief Executive of Paddy Power Betfair, Dan Taylor were present.

The chairperson of Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), Brigid Simmonds, also joined the meeting to answer the queries of the committee. The discussion was majorly focused on the sportsbetting and its fans, which are getting exposed to arising issues. 

Brigid Simmonds has stated, the entire team of BGC is focused on the issue, and might think about a voluntary ban. But on the contrary, she also stated that these sponsorships have a positive aspect as well since these enable licence operators to represent gambling responsibly.

What does this Ban Mean for ESports?

The focal area of these recommendations is indeed on sportsbetting. But it’s also undeniable that commission’s work could also harm both esports and esports betting industry.

The reason being, these gambling companies are one of the prime sources from where a wide range of esports generates revenue. Besides, betting companies also sponsor many different teams and individuals. Take Ninjas in Pyjamas for an example, which is only one from numerous groups being supported by the online sportsbook Betway.

According to the recommendation, any kinds of gambling endorsements, including apparel, uniforms, team-wear, or other merchandise, need to be effectively kept away. Now, this can affect the esports gaming apparel and merchandise industries adversely.

Gambling Review

As a response to this recommendation, the UK government has promised to run a thorough review, which will be useful in addressing the problems derived from extreme and uncontrolled gambling. This promised review will be the first one since the long 2001. Now, as per the government, the report will be entirely focused on the sportsbetting sector, but despite that esports betting industry is expecting ramifications that can appear from it.

Now the fact is, the concept of sportsbetting is firmly ingrained in the society of gamblers. But, despite rapid growth in the last ten years, esports betting has failed to touch the popularity similar to sportsbetting. Moreover, the evidence that addresses the presence of betting issues in esports are leaning their focus on the exploitation of betting companies by imposters. The incident of NA summer shuffle betting scam would be an excellent example of that.

Excess gambling in sports betting may be compulsive or may not, but the fact is, the problem of excessive betting in esports is something that is still not fully comprehended. Besides, the issue of esports gambling is a bit different from the concerns that traditional sportsbetting tends to encompass.

A Justifiable Approach or a Quest for Convenient Scapegoat

A tendency of clamping down the gambling industry is in the tenure of the present United Kingdom government for quite a time now. While being in favour of the sportsbetting companies, many people are going vocal by claiming that the government has intentions to treat the industry as a convenient scapegoat or a whipping child for the fulfilment of broader social issues.

Many of the top sports organisations like Premier League more likely would oppose most of the recommendations of House of Lords committee. And these oppose might play a crucial role in balancing the recommendations of the committee with the specific things that could be justifiably expected from the sportsbetting companies and the sports teams they sponsor. Now, this matter should be adequately looked into by the UK government.

Until this process comes to success, the ramifications made by the committee regarding the sponsorship in sports can never be fully recognised.

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