Unibet has been the main sponsor of the Allsvenskan and Superettan, as well as the 32 member clubs since 2020. The agreement is the largest sponsorship in Swedish sports and is worth up to SEK 150 million a year. Anders Falk, Strategic Sponsorship & PR Manager Sweden gives us an insight into the sponsorship and how the partnership aims to battle problem gambling.
The starting point for why we are here is simple – we at Unibet, love Swedish football. We want to be involved, influence and develop it, and of course, we want to build our brand.
There are many who question gambling operators’ football sponsorships and point to the risks associated with our industry. But at Kindred and Unibet, we never shy away from the risks and work hard to eliminate them. We do this through our proprietary monitoring system PS-EDS, which helps us detect early signs of harmful betting patterns among customers and implement measures to help in time.
Unibet’s partnership with SEF rests on responsibility. Mats Enquist, Secretary-General of Swedish Elite Football, has many times, expressed the importance of having a responsible partner, with the opportunity to influence and work together to strengthen consumer protection. The partnership will support academy development, projects for increased knowledge about gaming responsibility and match-fixing among players and coaches, CSR projects and development.
Together, Unibet and SEF launched match-fixing training in their first year and then expanded into responsible gambling. Both training courses are mandatory for all players and coaches in the clubs and aim to raise the level of knowledge on these topics. In addition to facts about laws and regulations, every player must complete a self-assessment, which acts as an eye-opener for their own betting behaviour. Match-fixing training will also be part of the certification process for the academies within Unicoach, to start building knowledge earlier in the players' careers.
Additionally, every club has also appointed an Integrity Officer (IO). They work closely with the team, acquire in-depth knowledge in the areas of responsible gambling and anti-match-fixing and become the link between the club, SEF and authorities if there are incidents that require the club's commitment. A clear measure for improved communication, focus and ultimately, consumer protection.
Our sponsorship also contributes to mental health research at the Karolinska Institutet. The research will give us the opportunity to further strengthen consumer protection, take action and actively work to minimise the risks associated with gambling.
We need to move the discussion away from the question "Should sports be sponsored by gambling companies" to "How can we, through sponsorship, make the gambling industry safer and better for consumers". If the gambling, sports and media industries, along with politicians and other stakeholders had the same focus, we could speed up the creation of the safest entertaining environment.