This sponsorship contract is intended to provide a major boost to Norwich City club. But the decision to select LeoVegas, which is an online betting company, to be their major sponsor has caused a steady debate amongst its fans.
People who are affected by gambling have claimed that this move will cause more people to get addicted to gambling and has angered a lot of them. Other supporters, however, believe that this move is essential to sort out the club’s finances.
One of the former gambling addicts Luke Jones, who is also City fan, is one of the many people who have sparked the debate. The 26-year-old, who resides in Norwich itself, even wrote an open letter addressed towards the club, stating the impact that the move can have.
“I know that your sponsors will try to portray a fun, safe environment, but their website is exactly the same as the ones which I became addicted too. Please don’t let our younger fans fall foul of this too. Please reconsider your sponsorship.” said Luke Jones.
He has been a season ticket holder at the club for the past seven years, who lost his job and was declared bankrupt due to online gambling.
Following the announcement, which was made on Monday, the Swedish firm is all set to become the club’s main partner for the upcoming three seasons.
The logo of the firm will be displayed on the first team shirts, training kits, and Carrow Road’s branding. One of the club’s spokesperson also mentioned that the deal was one of the biggest deals ever in the championship.
“LeoVegas and Norwich City are committed to promoting responsible gambling at all times. They will be working closely with leading charity GambleAware on this throughout the course of the sponsorship”, he added.
A majority of people disagreed with the club’s decision in an online poll held by Evening News websites and EDP.
From the Gambler’s Perspective
The impact of the club having an online gambling firm as the main sponsor would be significantly small for many people. But for others, like David Armstrong, a 70-year-old gambler, these are the things that have kept him addicted.
Having lost over £350,000 through online gambling, he now has three different jobs in order to supply his addiction. Living at his friend’s place in Norwich, after losing his house to gambling, Mr. Armstrong claims that gambling has completely destroyed his life.
He also mentions “And it is disgusting that these companies are able to advertise themselves. It is like someone being able to advertise crack or heroin. The problem is that they make it look glamorous. As if it is a bit of fun, and part of the leisure industry. That is how people get hooked.”
He is also ‘disgusted’ by this decision taken by the club, claiming there could be more victims in the future.
People have become more comfortable with gambling believe experts.
This is not the first club to have a betting firm as their main sponsor. Clubs like Stoke City, who replaced their stadium’s name with Bet365 stadium have also been under their influence. Birmingham City club too is sponsored by a betting firm called 888sport.
Most of the experts believe that people nowadays have become comfortable with gambling. Football is one of the major sports where gambling is involved at a higher level. Hence, it is understandable why these firms are getting more keen on becoming the major sponsors of these football clubs.
It has become an industry which is more comfortable with gambling.