Kevin Dale, Director at analyst firm Gaming Monitor, believes the efforts of Paddy Power’s Save Our Shirt campaign (SOS) are not based on real convictions and will divide the industry.
Paddy Power is promoting the campaign by sponsoring football clubs without having its name placed on the teams' shirts.
So far, the English Championship's Huddersfield Town, English League One's Southend United, English League Two's Newport County and the Scottish Premiership's Motherwell have all partnered with Paddy Power as part of the campaign; this followed a prank where Paddy Power's name was displayed as a sash across Huddersfield's shirt for a pre-season friendly.
Dale has a warning for operators as to how regulation can develop as a result of these marketing strategies.
Dale told Gambling Insider: "I really do think this is ludicrous, and for a number of reasons.
"It smacks of desperation. It looks like a PR stunt that isn’t based on real convictions. It divides the industry. It has no moral logic and is full of holes. Why is it only including football sponsorship and not other sports? Why does it only include shirts and not other sponsorship assets? Why does it only encompass the UK and not other countries?"
Paddy Power's campaign follows operator GVC Holdings' commitment to end all football shirt sponsorship of UK teams as part of its call for a complete ban on UK gambling advertising.
Dale added: "Let's not forget football clubs, especially the smaller ones, do need sponsorship cash. Paddy Power’s gimmick will only reduce overall cash being put into sport. As the biggest sponsoring sector, if all betting companies pull out of shirt sponsorship, then the value of shirt assets will decline.
“Once we start adopting and promoting our own marketing restrictions like this, all it means is that regulators are emboldened.
“Buoyed up by the industry’s own petty, piecemeal stunts, there’s no limit to what they might expect us to comply with.”
Click here to read Gambling Insider's assessment of Paddy Power's campaign.