RTÉ is in the market for a new sponsor of its international football coverage after confirmation that Paddy Power would not be renewing its one year deal from 2021.

Self-regulation from the industry will come into effect from January 1st that prevents promotion or advertising on-screen between the start and end of a game. The exclusion also extends to five minutes before and after a game which would have meant the prohibition of around 10 ‘bumper’ ads coming in and out of advertising breaks in programming.

It mirrors expected legal regulations due to come into effect in the UK next year following a detailed review of gambling promotion that will also likely prohibit the ubiquitous shirt front sponsorship undertaken by mainly far east based betting companies.

The general scheme of the Gambling Regulation Bill in Ireland was published last month and runs to 224 pages of detailed regulation that will be introduced once it winds its way through the corridors of power.

Advertising and Sponsorship

There are specific areas relating to advertising and sponsorship, many of which are already voluntarily adhered to by gambling companies here but which will have the force of law.

The voluntary regulations here in advance of that are being introduced by the bookmakers and betting companies themselves, including the biggest players in the market here Boylesports, Paddy Power, Betfair and Ladbrokes.

The only familiar name yet to sign up to the code drawn up by the Irish Bookmakers Association is William Hill.

Hores racing and greyhound racing is excluded from the restriction, so the existing Boylesports partnership with RTÉ would still be permitted, as would major sponsorship deals which are in place at Shelbourne Park, Leopardstown, Fairyhouse, Punchestown, the Curragh and Galway among others.

Irish sport is in an OK position with regard to reliance on betting sponsorship. The GAA and FAI both introduced their own prohibition on sponsorships within their sports while there are no other stand out relationships that will be affected.

The greater impact will be on media such as the Paddy Power deal with RTÉ and potentially on a number of online partnerships that are in place.

Sport for Business Perspective

The tide of opinion against the unfettered promotion of gambling in Britain and Ireland is one that betting companies have recognised from a long way out. Ironically legislation is being relaxed at the same pace in the larger United States market at the same pace as it is being tightened here. That is where their focus of attention is increasingly likely to be.



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