The impact of Formula 1's first gambling sponsorship


We take a look at the popularity of Formula 1 and why the racing organization suddenly decided to approve a gambling sponsorship in 2020.

We analyse whether this will be a one-off gambling sponsorship or if we can expect more gambling sponsorships in the coming years. We also look at the pros and cons of this marriage between F1 and gambling.

Guest writer Péter Deli gives you an expert opinion of why Formula 1 has finally embraced a gambling sponsorship in 2020. To find out more about Péter Deli, click here.

Is There A Shortage of F1 Sponsorships?

Formula 1 racing may not be as popular as football or cricket but the sport still has a global audience that continues to grow with every passing year. The F1 brand has significant market value and hence there is no shortage of sponsorship deals when it comes to Formula 1 racing. However, Formula 1 over the years has been very selective with the types of sponsorships they have embraced and have stayed clear of gambling sponsorships for years.

However, all that changed in 2020 when Formula 1 decided to experiment with the gambling formula and to sign its first-ever gambling company as a sponsor.

Which gambling sponsor did Formula 1 sign in 2020? And will Formula 1 continue to sign gambling deals going forward? While we cannot make any guarantees, we can make an educated speculation.

F1 Ties Up With 188BET In 2020

In early 2020, F1 entered into an agreement with 188BET to be its sponsor in Asia. The deal was signed for five seasons and will run till 2024. This is a strategic and mutually beneficial sponsorship for F1 and 188BET which is based in the Isle of Man.

The sponsorship will give 188BET full access to Formula 1s betting data which will definitely be of help to bettors to get accurate data and make an informed bet. 188BET will also be allowed to showcase its brand via virtual advertising trackside in an innovative fashion that will allow broadcasters to display the 188BET brand to their viewers in Asia.

188BET also gets exclusive control of the F1 play predictor option in Asia which is huge as it will be a major driving force in getting F1 bettors over to their site. F1 benefits as 188BET will pay the racing organization an undisclosed sum of money each year that will be used to boost F1 and may even open the door for them to add new teams and F1 Grand Prix's going forward.

F1 Takes Criticism For Gambling Sponsorship

Formula 1 stayed clear of gambling sponsorships when Bernie Ecclestone was in charge. Eccelestone ran F1 for nearly 40 years and sold the company to Liberty Media in 2018. The new owners were more open to embracing gambling sponsorships and F1 MD Sean Bratches said that it was inevitable for F1 to bring on gambling sponsors given the fact that millions of fans had embraced gambling sponsors in different sports like football and cricket.

However, F1 has received a lot of flak from gambling opponents over its sponsorship deal with 188BET. They believe that a direct sponsorship with a gambling firm will encourage F1 fans to engage in betting activities and open the door for players to be exploited by unscrupulous online gambling firms.

F1 fans in Hungary do not have to be worried about being exploited by an online sportsbook or an online casino, as there are a number of reputed and trustworthy operators to choose from.

Expect More F1-Gambling Sponsorships

The gambling industry is growing at an exponential rate and will continue to do so in the years to come, expect F1 to embrace more gambling sponsors in the coming years. We can expect gambling operators to approach F1 teams and secure team sponsorships and also approach F1 drivers and work on driver sponsorships.


The pros are clear to see for both F1 and gambling operators but the cons are harder to measure as one needs to measure how many F1 players have been influenced to bet at these sponsor's sportsbooks and online casinos. We also need to measure how many of these F1 fans who are betting end up with problem gambling issues.

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Published: 25/11/2020
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