Real Madrid sign up Fonbet despite impending gambling ads ban
Real Madrid, the Spanish soccer giants, have agreed a new sports betting partnership with Russian company Fonbet to the end of the 2022-23 season despite an impending ban on gambling advertising in their home country.
Under the long-term agreement, Fonbet becomes the LaLiga club’s official betting partner across Russia and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) region, including Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The sponsorship will involve ‘unique promotions’ for Fonbet customers, as well as exclusive prize draws, bonuses, enhanced odds, ‘extended action line on the royal club games’ and social media content.
The deal comes with a ban on gambling advertising set to come into effect in Spain later this year.
Last November, the ban was approved by the Spanish government despite opposition from gaming bodies and domestic soccer clubs with sponsors from the sector.
Alberto Garzon, the government’s minister for consumer affairs, had been pushing for the legislation for the best part of a year and the royal decree was eventually given the green light by the council of ministers.
Enforced as a new federal law, gambling adverts in Spain will only be permitted between 1am and 5am across traditional media, although this excludes state-owned lotteries.
The Spanish government informed clubs in Spain’s top-flight LaLiga and second-tier Segunda Division that are sponsored by betting firms that they will need to find a way to end all such arrangements by the end of the current 2020-21 season.
A transition period to the end of the current campaign in May will be implemented, with 31 August the specific deadline for when existing sponsorships must be cancelled.
In LaLiga, seven out of 20 teams have betting companies as their main sponsors, including traditional heavyweights Valencia and Sevilla, while several other clubs, such as Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, have betting partners both domestically and in other parts of the world.
It means Real Madrid will not be permitted to feature Fonbet’s branding inside their Santiago Bernabeu stadium or on any of their digital and social channels from next season, despite the deal running until 2023.
In Spain, the LaLiga champions have an existing betting partnership with Codere Apuestas which runs until 2022 which they may have to be terminated.
However, Spanish clubs could have a reprieve as both Jdigital, the Spanish online gambling trade association, and AMI, the media and broadcast trade union, both recently launched appeals with the country’s Supreme Court to challenge the ban introduced by the government.
The appeal is understood to have been accepted by the court and will allow Jdigital and AMI to challenge the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.