Germany’s Sports Fans Unhappy with Team Ties to Gambling Firms

Some German sports fans aren’t happy with the state of relationships between their favorite teams and sports betting companies. They’re calling out the teams, issuing demands that they curtail their relationships.

Helen Breit
Helen Breit
Helen Breit of Germany’s Unsere Kurve sports fan group. She helped author a list of demands to reduce sports betting advertising and partnerships tied to sports teams and events. (Image: Sportschau)

The Fourth Interstate Treaty on Gambling in Germany was to align the country’s gambling efforts. It introduced reforms to bring the different states together and facilitate organized growth. However, it has also brought with it an increase in sports betting sponsorships and advertising.

Some German sports fans feel that they are now being bombarded by a virtual presence of betting operators, and want it to stop. The Unsere Kurve (“Our Curve” in English), a group comprised of soccer fans, has authored a series of demands it hopes will achieve that goal.

German Soccer Fans Vs. Bundesrat

The demands target the country’s professional soccer teams and the Bundesrat, the legislative body that represents the 16 federated states of Germany at the federal level. Unsere Kurve wants the government to introduce new regulations limiting sports betting advertising. It also wants the teams to agree to “voluntary commitments” to cut back on their relationships with sports betting companies.

The group explains in a statement announcing its initiative, “Due to the type and placement of advertising, soccer fans and spectators will act as if sports betting is a natural part of soccer and fan culture.”

It added, “Advertising partners such as athletes, clubs, and even the sports show or kicker, give sports betting a serious image through their advertising platform, and convey the message that they are harmless. Problematic gaming behavior is particularly widespread among soccer fans. And it is precisely this that is promoted by sports betting providers, because they generate their immense profits mainly through frequent bettors.”

No More Ads

Unsere Kurve wants the government to place a ban on all sports betting advertisements at stadiums, as well as on all sports-related media platforms. It also wants a ban prohibiting sports betting operators from teaming up with athletes and other public individuals to promote their operations.

As an additional component, the group wants a “massive expansion” on the level of prevention measures to fight gambling addiction. This would be implemented along with a new responsible gambling campaign. The latter would run under the slogan, “Profits do not increase significantly through mature expert knowledge.”

Unsere Kurve feels its demands are not outrageous, and follow those that have already been seen in other countries. The UK, Spain and Italy have all drawn a line on the link between sports betting advertising and sports.

Bans Already in the Works

There already exists an effort to reduce the relationship between sports and sports betting in Germany. However, it faces resistance. The government stated last year that it was considering a complete ban on sports betting advertising across the board.

The German Sports Betting Association strongly opposes the measure. In November, it argued that the prohibition would eliminate the ability to distinguish between legitimate operators and illegal companies. Ultimately, it asserted, this would cause greater harm. Allowing sports betting advertising to survive, but under a regulated environment, would offer greater protections.

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