Sports clubs in Denmark concerned that gambling marketing law changes could cost them revenue

Denmark Marketing Act

Denmark will look again at its Marketing Act, which came into force at the beginning of July 2020. 

Sports clubs in the country have expressed their concerns that certain conditions within the legislation will have a detrimental impact on their revenue. 

Section 11B prohibits “any marketing of consumer loan companies and consumer credit agreements in connection with the marketing of games and game providers.”

Operators licensed in Denmark, as well as other sporting bodies, have also called for transparency as to what is and is not allowed. 

‘In connection’ could cause confusion 

The Consumer Ombudsman in the Nordic country attempted to provide more clarity last month, after it was contacted by governors from the Danish First Division – which is the country’s second-highest level of football. The league is sponsored by NordicBet, which is one of Swedish operator Betsson AB’s brands. 

NordicBet’s logo would appear wherever the league’s crest is located, including on match balls, in stadia and on all club shirts. Because of this, the First Division wanted to know whether or not the Marketing Act’s outlines would have an impact on individual club partnerships with consumer loan companies. 

The Act was designed to protect individuals from being exposed to both consumer loan and gambling promotions at the same time. However, ‘in connection with’ has caused confusion. According to the Ombudsman, “to market the consumer loan companies’ logo, name or other characteristics of player jerseys on which the name or logo of the league was also printed” would be a violation of the marketing act. 

The Ombudsman’s opinion led to a complaint being submitted against Superliga side Aalborg Foldbold (AaB), who have gambling operator Mr Green on the back of their shirts and Spar Nord – a banking service based in Denmark – on the front. This was filed by the Alliance Against Gambling Addiction, who believed that the North Jutland-based outfit had breached regulations. However, since both logos are not visible at the same time, AaB believed otherwise. 

Legislation to be reconsidered in a bid to find balance 

Danish Minister of Trade and Industry Simon Kollerup has said that the government will seek to find a middle ground between protecting consumers and also ensuring that sports clubs remain profitable.

The Act has caused sponsorship issues elsewhere, with revenue a particular concern for many sporting institutions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While fans have been allowed back to Danish football matches since the country emerged from its lockdown, this is currently in a limited capacity. As such, clubs are continuing to miss out on their usual gate receipts for the time being. 

Because of confusion surrounding the Marketing Act, Danish Bank The Arbejdernes Landsbank has also pulled out of its sponsorship with Denmark’s national football team.

Banking firms are not allowed to sponsor broadcasts of games where a gambling sponsor is also featured, while sites where gambling sponsors are placed are also a no-go for banking companies looking to promote themselves.