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Centre for Commercial Law Studies

Financial Trading Apps and Cryptocurrencies fill gap caused by gambling advertisement bans in professional sport

New research from Leon Xiao, Teaching Associate at the School of Law, Queen Mary University of London, has linked the increase in the advertising of quasi-gambling products and other high volatility investment products with gambling advertisement bans.

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New gambling advertising restrictions in Europe

Spain and Italy have recently passed laws that banned advertising gambling service providers in professional sports, including on official team kits. This has caused many teams to look at alternative sponsorship.

New research into these new, replacement sponsors revealed that many instead offer quasi-gambling products that do not necessarily fall within the existing legal definitions of gambling and/or are not regulated by financial authorities yet, such as cryptocurrency “investments” and other high volatility financial products.

A similar gambling advertisement ban has been proposed for the English Premier League, and similar quasi-gambling products already sponsor many English teams.

What are the risks?

Previous research has found that quasi-gambling products attract people with problem gambling issues. In addition, quasi-gambling activities are less regulated and less understood by researchers, and might be perceived by consumers and regulators as less risky.

An outright ban of sports sponsorship by traditional gambling companies without also addressing quasi-gambling products will likely simply shift the harm to different domains, rather than remove it.

The research, which was written in collaboration with Dr Philip Newall, Postdoctoral Researcher at CQUniversity, Australia, is available in the Gaming Law Review.

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