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iGaming operators in hustle for Swedish sports kits?

Photo: Courtesy of SportPesa

“Money talks”, says industry CEO

 Mr Green on Hammarbys shirt? Betsson as sponsors of Djurgården? And the LeoVegas lion, on the IFK Göteborg kit?

Not at all impossible, in the very near future.

“There is no legal hindrance after the reregulation”, says Gustaf Hoffstedt of BOS, the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling.

Gaming and gambling companies and operators are becoming more and more visible, as sponsors of large sports organisations worldwide.

In the English Premier League alone, West Ham get 10 million pounds from Betway for the 2017/2018 soccer season. Everton get 9.6 million pounds from SportPesa. Crystal Palace 6.5 million pounds from ManBetX. Stoke City 3.2 million pounds from Bet365. And Burnley is paid 2.5 million pounds, by gaming operator and shirt sponsor Dafabet.

From the 1st of July, after parliament has passed the reregulation bill in Sweden, any operator is free to apply for a Swedish license. And those who are granted one, will be free to contact any Swedish sports clubs, to act as ambassadors for them.

“Nordic Bet, a subsidiary of Betsson, is already a sponsor of the Swedish Hockey League. Without having a Swedish gambling license. Once the operators get a Swedish license, there will be no hindrance for sports club sponsorship”, says Gustaf Hoffstedt, the Secretary General of the Trade Association for Online Gambling in Sweden to i-Gaming Forum.

Svenska Spel sponsored the Swedish Hockey League for a long time, but ATG secured a three year deal for this in 2015 (which expires this September) – and Nordic Bet got a two year deal in 2016.

Jenny Nilzon, the CEO of the Swedish Gambling Association (SPER), agrees that there is nothing to prevent the operators that are granted Swedish licenses, the opportunity to sponsor Swedish sports teams.

“But there may be old loyalties that remain”, she says to i-Gaming Forum.

For example, Swedish businessman Rune Andersson recently revealed in a podcast that he has so far spent over 100 million Swedish kronor (approx 10 million euro) sponsoring his home team Trelleborgs FF. Which he will continue to do.     

And incumbent operators ATG and Svenska Spel, of course, have established strong partnerships with Swedish elite sports organisations and teams.  

“There may be loyalty issues in the beginning, and existing agreements, but in the end – it’s money talks. The operators that get Swedish licenses, will also be able to promote themselves via many other platforms that are blocked for them in Sweden today, like via Google and Facebook.” says Jenny Nilzon.

According to i-Gaming Forum sources as far as football kits in Sweden are concerned, Svenska Spel has a signed contract for 2018/2019 and 2019/2020. So with the current situation, the shirts will not be ”in play” before the 2020/2021 season. On the other hand, with the reregulation coming up, things are happening very, very fast right now. So even issues involving existing contracts, may change.

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