The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) issued a statement revealing that the group does not support a proposed ban on gambling advertising on Bulgarian sports.
Lately, a proposal calling for a ban on gambling advertising has emerged, with the proposal calling the lawmakers to suspend gambling advertising on Bulgarian sports. According to campaigners, changes in the country’s gambling laws are necessary to block local gambling and sports betting operators from using advertising to target customers. Members of Parliament have been urged to take into consideration a full ban on gambling advertising and the privatization of the Bulgarian Sports Totalisator (BST), which remains state-owned.
Currently, Bulgarian laws do not allow so-called “direct” advertising of gambling activities. However, a loophole in the regulations exists, allowing gambling and betting companies to position their products for promotion. As a result, the last few months have seen Bulgaria’s national air being literally flooded by gambling operators’ adverts.
A large number of controversial adverts are broadcast throughout the day or during family-watching hours, which means they could attract the attention of minors and underage individuals. At the same time, public areas and stadiums across the country are often surrounded by banners and other advertising materials by various betting operators.
For the time being, Bulgaria remains in the middle of an ongoing political crisis, with another Government election expected to be held in the upcoming months. This would be the fifth General Election in the country in two years after the political parties failed to form a coalition government under any of the three Government mandates handed out by Interim President Rumen Radev.
Professional and Amateur Football Clubs Need Their Gambling Partnership Agreements to Survive, BFU Claims
As mentioned above, the governing body of professional football in Bulgaria issued a statement, saying that about two-thirds of the professional football clubs in the country currently rely on the benefits from sponsorship and partnership agreements with licensed bookmakers. The Bulgarian Football Union explained that this is not a trend in Bulgaria alone and noted that licensed gambling and sports betting companies team up with leading sports clubs and organizations all over the world, with teams benefitting from promoting gambling brands, which, on the other hand, help the sport grow.
The country’s governing body on professional football has noted that local politicians are using the proposed suspension of gambling advertising for political dividends at a time of crisis for the nation. The organization shared that it does not expect any help from Bulgarian lawmakers and called for them not to stay in the way of the growth of the sport.
The BFU fully disagreed with the proposal seeking to bring changes to the existing advertising regulations to suspend advertising gambling and betting operators. Apart from that, the governing body of Bulgarian professional football shared that it was the sponsorship agreements with gambling and betting brands and the financing guaranteed by such deals that made it possible for most of the professional and even amateur football clubs in the country to exist.
According to the Bulgarian Football Union, cutting the ties between football and gambling would severe the vital source of funds for the sport, which can lead to the disappearance of some football clubs.
In its statement, the BFU claimed that the partnerships with gambling and betting operators or missing talent do not result in the poor overall performance of Bulgarian football clubs. According to the organization, that was a consequence of how impartial the country currently is toward the sport.