MODERN football cannot be imagined without large investments and sponsorship contracts. Celtic FC was no exception and therefore signed a contract with the gambling company William Hill.
Many fans took it from different sides: one part of the community reacted neutrally, while the other fan base was unhappy with this decision.
Why such a controversy? In our opinion, it was caused by the popularity of responsible gambling initiatives in the modern world of sports. There are many UK football clubs that support GamStop and other similar self-exclusion programs, and Celtic FC partnering with a gambling sponsor
Pros and Cons of GamStop Partnership for Celtic FC
Football, especially in the major leagues, requires quite a lot of money: buying players, organizing training sessions, hiring various staff like massage therapists or a psychologist, and generally, players’ salaries also need to be paid.
It is not always possible to recoup all costs from prize money because sponsorship is the main mechanism that drives the entire football team. Therefore, the decision of the CEO of Celtic FC to sign a contract was obvious since this brings an excellent financial boost to the team. Still, as mentioned earlier, there are also negative consequences.
How Celtic FC Might Benefit From the GamStop Partnership
Let’s start with the positive aspects because they are a more powerful argument for the club’s reputation.
Positive FC Image
Sponsorship means not just the money donated to a club for well-played games but resources that can be directed to developing many football and non-football things. Celtic FC is known for prioritizing charity, thanks in part to Brother Walfrid.
Therefore, regardless of the type of activity of the sponsor, these finances are mostly used for good acts, such as the development of youth football, the repair of stadiums where teenagers play, and investments in sports development among schoolchildren.
Encourages Fans to Seek Help
It is a well-known fact that sports betting leads to the development of problem gambling habits. All Celtic management understood this, and deciding to sign a sponsorship with a gambling company was not easy for them.
Moreover, for many football fans who bet outside GamStop, Celtic is like a big brother because it has enormous authority. And the advice and instructions of a big football brother can be one of the most effective for those struggling with gambling addiction.
Promotes Responsible Gambling
The image of gambling sponsors and football clubs depends on how they present information. As we know, gambling does not cause positive feelings and emotions for everyone. Therefore, creating an image of safe and responsible gambling is essential.
The task is not too difficult since sponsors often provide image makers themselves, who handle brand policy and constantly remind fans (especially teenagers) of the rules, requirements, and possible problems with addiction.
Are There Any Possible Drawbacks to Partnering With GamStop?
But there are always negative aspects of sponsorship, not just gambling brands.
Effectiveness of GamStop
The last potential drawback is also related to the nature of GamStop and its effectiveness. Most critics and analysts of the gambling platform believe that GamStop does not really solve the root cause of problem gambling but rather is a method of gatekeeping that works well only while the self-exclusion period lasts. Besides, this self-exclusion program is not omnipresent — there are many UK bookmakers not on GamStop that allow problem gamblers to make bets without any limitations.
Currently, many experts believe that the club’s dialogue and communication with the community of its football fans are much more effective in preventing gambling addiction (or, at least, motivating problem gamblers to seek help) than just pushing them towards GamStop.
Celtic FC May Lose Lucrative Gambling Sponsorship
Celtic is currently partnering with William Hill, which is not part of GamStop. This is why it attracts a large number of gamblers around the world. If this program is connected to the company’s projects, it threatens to lose a large number of finances and terminate sponsorship with Celtic FC.
Why is it bad? The loss of sponsors is always a hard blow for most football clubs, as the whole economic system collapses, which includes the distribution of salaries, the budget for charity, and the preparation of players for matches.
Even if William Hill or other sponsors do not cease to support Celtic FC after its partnering with GamStop, their investments in the club might decrease significantly.
Inconvenient for Some Fans
The GamStop self-exclusion system is often very problematic, which most gamblers from the UK and Ireland notice. Since it is these players who, in most cases, are fans of Celtic FC, for them, such a sponsor as William Hill is more than relevant and affordable. After all, you can support the team on the podium or sit in front of TVs and play in online casinos.
But the lengthy process of the self-exclusion procedure can negatively affect the total number of satisfied gamblers who can abandon this project even if it is a sponsor of their favourite FC club.
Celtic football club should carefully analyse the possible consequences of supporting the GamStop self-exclusion scheme. On the one hand, it could have positive impacts on the club’s reputation, promote responsible gambling, and help a lot of people overcome their problem gambling habits. On the other hand, it could cost Celtic its gambling partnership (as well as potentially lucrative sponsorships in the future) and cause inconveniences to Celtic’s gambling fans. Besides, many experts believe that GamStop is not that effective.