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Online Gaming Ban Would Be "Crippling" To Polish Economy

December 2, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — So what happens when online casinos are banned in a country where the most popular, and biggest earning professional sport (football, or soccer to Americans) is largely sponsored by those same online casinos?  

As Poland considers whether to proceed with its ban (and it’s looking as though it will implement the ban, as soon as this week), the Wall Street Journal has pointed out that doing so will have huge financial repercussions in the country, which is, like most, struggling with a weak economy at the moment.

“Global [football] stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldinho now wear shirts with the names of betting companies across their chests in place of the traditional manufacturers that used to dominate the sponsorship market,” wrote Jonathan Clegg earlier this week. “Amid tough economic conditions, the steady growth of the gambling sector has been credited with sustaining sponsorship revenue and driving spending in the sport.”

That could — and probably will — change if Poland becomes the latest country to take a hard-line stance against online gambling. A ban “could force football clubs in that country to terminate lucrative sponsorship deals with [the online gambling] companies,” Clegg continues.

"Many teams are heavily dependent on the money that comes from [online gambling] sponsorships. For them it is a devastating blow," Clegg quoted an industry insider. "If online bookmakers cannot operate in Poland, they will withdraw from this market and also from all sponsorship deals."

Perhaps, given the United States’ surprising decision to delay implementation of its own online gambling ban late last week, more other countries will realize that banning online gaming is just plain bad business. Here’s hoping Poland makes a sensible decision this week.

The full Wall Street Journal article goes on to explore the big business of online gaming sponsorships throughout Europe. To read it, click here.