Over the past decade or so, we have all seen the steady rise in both the popularity and the profile of online casinos. Their prominence has, to a large extent, been fueled by the smartphone revolution. Suddenly, everyone has a smartphone, and gaming on the go has become big business.
As the market has exploded, so numerous new entrants from both the UK and mainland Europe have entered the fray, offering ever more generous joining bonuses, free spins and the like to try and tempt customers in what has become an increasingly competitive and crowded market.
The sector has also become one of the foremost sponsors of major sporting events. Sports like snooker and darts already have online casinos sponsoring most of their major tournaments, and they are now becoming increasingly prevalent in the high-stakes and big money world of football.
Casino games and football matches
The connection between football and casino games like roulette is a strong one. Keen casino gamblers are likely to have an interest in betting on a football match and football fans often enjoy other kinds of games. There is therefore a good potential for cross selling, for the casino goer to have a richer gambling experience through football and the football fan to take advantage of some tempting casino offers.
So just how common has it become for real slots, blackjack and roulette sites to sponsor football teams? Here are some of the biggest deals that have been signed over the past six months.
Betfair and Juventus
In early July, UK-based Betfair and Juventus, one of the biggest names in European football announced a multi-year deal. The duration of the deal was not disclosed, but it was confirmed that Betfair will be the team’s “official gaming and betting partner” from the current season going forward.
The agreement goes beyond the usual branding of team kits and within the team’s home ground at Allianz Stadium. It also gives the company access to players within the Juventus team for a range of marketing activities, and it gives Betfair the right to use the official Juventus logo.
Since signing the deal, Betfair has also developed promotional content and activities within its online casino site specifically aimed at Juventus supporters, such as prize giveaways and exclusive video content.
Royal Panda and QPR
Queen’s Panda Rangers? Not quite, but Royal Panda were quick to grab the chance of some regal connections by teaming up with QPR in a three year sponsorship deal. The West Londoners, who might be better named the yoyos than The Hoops given their proclivity for spending almost equal amounts of time in the Championship and the Premier League, went into the season full of optimism when the deal was penned.
Commercial Director Euan Inglis talked about the exciting season ahead, and how the new deal and new logos would spark a new dawn. Sadly, things have not panned out that way in the first part of the season, with QPR languishing in the bottom half.
Unibet and Aston Villa
When Villa were relegated at the end of the 2016 season, it shook the football world to the core. Here was a team that had been playing top flight football for an astonishing 105 seasons, second only to Everton with 114.
As such, they are by far the best-supported and most famous team in the Championship – home games typically attract 30,000 spectators, and to a sponsor, that means everything. Unibet sealed a deal to have its logo on those famous purple shirts, and has also arranged a series of novel marketing ideas, including giving Unibet players the chance to play in five-a-side games against former Villa legends.