Chile bans betting sponsorship, killing new naming rights deal for top leagues

September 27 – Chile is cracking down on the betting industry in-country. Earlier this month the Supreme Court of Justice declared betting illegal and blocked 23 online betting sites.

Now Bettson’s naming rights deal with the Asociación Nacional de Fútbol Profesional (ANFP), the body in charge of the top Chilean leagues, has been cancelled.

The sponsorship loss is a big deal for ANFP. Bettson were paying a reported $2.5 million for the first season of the deal with that amount expected to increase to $8 million over the three-year term.

ANFP’s previous sponsor for the same rights, AFP Planvital, was paying $500,000 per season for the same rights.

While the ANFP contested the decision in court (it has been in a long-running dispute with the Chile’s justice ministry), the judge ruled that “online sports betting (…) is prohibited in our legal system, which treats the debts incurred in said games of chance as an illegal activity.”

The ANFP had unsuccessfully tried to get a moratorium on the suspension of gambling but must now rename its First Division, A and B championships as well as have all references to Bettson removed from its communications and digital platforms.

Betsson does not have an office in Chile and the country does not issue betting licenses. However, the bookmaker has been building a presence in rapidly expanding South American betting markets with a $7.5 million sponsorship of Argentina’s Boca Juniors, as well as sponsoring the 2021 Copa América and being the naming sponsor of Peru’s League 1 and the Pernambuco state tournament in Brazil.

The ruling against Bettson is having a knock-on effect to a number of clubs in the Chilean leagues who have online bookmakers as their shirt and club sponsors.

Betway has cancelled advertising deals in place since January 2022 with five Chilean clubs; Unión La Calera; Everton de Viña del Mar; Ñublense; Audax Italiano; and Coquimbo Unido.

The bookmakers are contesting the ruling arguing that a better way forward would be accelerate progression to gambling regulation and licensing, rather than, having created a demand, driving gamblers to unscrupulous operators.

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