Striking sponsorship deals has long been a popular method for increasing brand exposure. By sponsoring the right organization or event, a business can get their name in front of huge numbers of people. The effect on a business of securing a sponsorship deal with the right organization can be profound, and it can completely transform a business virtually overnight.
Ireland is home to a number of the biggest names in the European casino world, and many of its brands now have a global reach thanks to the rise of online gambling. Needless to say, these casinos in Ireland have been searching for opportunities to get their brand out there through sponsorship deals with the right people.
Casinos face restrictions on how they are able to market themselves to the general public. These regulations vary from place to place, and any casino that is expanding into a new territory – online or offline – needs to find a way of marketing themselves. Sponsorship is one of the few advertising methods that is widely allowed even in places that have laws in place that heavily restrict the means by which casinos can advertise their services.
In Ireland, the ways that casinos are able to advertise themselves are set out in the Gambling Act of 2013. Most of the restrictions set out in this Act are to ensure that marketing material from casinos is kept well out of reach of children. However, there are a number of other restrictions in place that ensure that casinos are only able to advertise gambling in neutral terms.
There are also restrictions on where adverts for casinos and betting events can be displayed, which is another reason that sponsorship is so important – it provides venues where casinos can make their brand name visible.
The most popular sport in Ireland, by quite a large margin, is Gaelic football. However, horse racing accounts for around 70% of all the sports bets placed online in Ireland. With so many people watching each race, it is an obvious choice for casinos in search of a sponsorship opportunity. As a result, many of the biggest casinos in the country are involved in sponsoring horse racing events.
For example, casino giant Betway recently revealed that they were expanding their existing sponsorship deals to now include a number of Irish sports, mainly horse racing. Betway has been present for a number of race events in the UK but hasn’t been involved in the Irish market until now.
As with most other European nations, soccer is very popular in Ireland. However, Gaelic soccer, the Irish variant on the sport, is even more popular and it is Gaelic soccer that brings the punters in. Casinos are becoming ever more prominent at soccer games. Until 2005, the Gambling Act prevented casinos from advertising on TV in any form at all.
However, since that date, casinos in Ireland have had much greater freedom to promote themselves the way they see fit. This meant that casinos couldn’t have their names displayed around the perimeter of televised sporting events, nor could their name and logo feature on sports team’s apparel. However, now that this situation has changed, casinos in Ireland are now able to display their marketing wherever they please.
Casinos looking for sponsorship opportunities have an ever-increasing range of options that they can choose from. As well as the sports mentioned above, there are a whole host of other opportunities for casinos to get their name and brand out in front of a larger audience than would previously have been possible.
Take the example of eSports; there are a number of eSport events that now attract millions of viewers, and millions of dollars in prize money. These events are only growing in popularity, so it isn’t surprising that they are attracting so much interest from potential sponsors. Ireland’s eSports sector is still very small, but the market is heavily concentrated in the US.
However, Ireland does have a growing tech sector and eSports are likely to prove popular in Ireland over the next couple of years. We can expect to see casinos leaping on sponsorship opportunities in eSports, not only for the large audience they will be exposed to, but also because betting on eSports is also becoming a huge business in its own right.
Sponsorship by casinos is a two-way street. The casinos get to massively increase their brand exposure, while the events or teams that they sponsor get to charge a premium price for the premium marketing real estate. Since the Gambling Act was amended, casinos have been free to sponsor sporting events like soccer without having to worry about contravening the provisions in the Act. It seems likely that we will only see more of the multimillion-dollar sponsorship deals that casinos have struck in recent years.