New figures by Sportcal show football, horse racing and basketball are the most popular markets for betting sponsorship in sport
Betting companies pay $330.5m (£263.6m) a year in sponsorship deals to sports clubs, according to new research.
Of the 358 active sponsorship deals across the world identified by sports marketing intelligence company Sportcal, Turkish betting firm Spor Toto has the biggest spend with its five active deals costing a total of $29.5m (£23.3m).
The company’s biggest active deal remains the sponsorship of the Turkish Süper Lig – the top-flight of the Turkish football league featuring teams including Galatasaray and Fenerbahce – which is valued at $28m (£22.1m).
Spor Toto beats UK companies Betway and Unibet in terms of total sponsorship spend – the duo pay out $23.1m (£18.24m) and $22.5m (£17.8m) in deals respectively.
Betway has 23 active deals across numerous sports including snooker, cricket and e-sports, as well as partnering with the Grand National.
Its largest deal is the shirt sponsorship of English Premier League club West Ham United, which is worth more than $13m (£10.26m).
Football, horse racing and basketball more popular for betting sponsorship in sport
Football clubs make up the majority of the 358 active deals, with 58% of the global deals for betting sponsorship in sport conducted in partnership with football clubs and leagues.
This is especially prevalent in the Championship, where more than 70% of clubs have a betting company as their shirt sponsor – with five clubs sponsored by British online casino company 32Red.
Horse racing, with 14% of the active deals, and basketball, with 6%, make up the top three.
Conrad Wiacek, head of sponsorship at Sportcal, said: “Due to marketing and advertising restrictions in numerous territories, the betting industry hasn’t been able to gain a foothold outside of certain key markets.
“In the UK, for example, partnerships with betting brands are well established and numerous, especially in sports such as soccer and horse racing.
“Horse racing is particularly dependent on the betting market, but soccer has leveraged partnerships with betting brands to tremendous effect, with many smaller teams using partnerships with betting brands to significantly increase their sponsorship revenue.”
One such example is the current sponsorship deal between Crystal Palace and ManBetX which is worth a reported $8.27m (£6.53m) annually.
In contrast, the deal Palace had in place with shipping and logistics firm GAC between 2011 and 2014 was worth a reported $1.37m (£1.08m) annually.
Betting sponsorship in US sports
Despite many alcohol brands opting to sponsor US sports teams, regulation on betting partnerships has prevented the gambling industry from making sponsorship deals similar to the ones in Europe.
But laws in the US are changing. Mr Wiacek said Delaware, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey and West Virginia have already passed laws allowing betting.
A further 13, led by New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, have proposed legislation to follow suit, he added.
As a result, Sportcal predicts the related sponsorship market will be worth $232m (£183.15m) by 2020 – and could more than double to $475m (£375m) by 2024 as seven more states follow suit.
Mr Wiacek added: “By 2028, there could be as many 40 states where sports betting is permitted, Utah and Hawaii are likely exceptions, with the US sponsorship market projected to be worth $810m (£639.45m) at that stage.”