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  1. #1
    CC International Master ElevatorEscapee's Avatar
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    Norwegian Chess Federation rejects multi-million gambling sponsorship

    I note that earlier in the week, the Norwegian Chess Federation Congress voted 132-44 to turn down an offer of kr10m NOK sponsorship per year over five years (approx around $1.67m AUD per year) from an online gambling company, Kindgred group.
    https://www.igamingbusiness.com/news...s-kindred-deal

    There seemed to be two main reasons for rejecting the deal, a legal issue (with the Norwegian government controlling gambling and prohibiting foreign online betting companies from targeting their citizens), and an ethical issue - whether or not an organisation promoting chess to the public, including school children, should be associated with a gambling product given it's potential addictiveness and social harm of problem gambling.

    Previously, a subsidiary company to Kindred, Trannel International, had been ordered to cease operations by the Norwegian Gaming Authority.

    In return for the sponsorship, the Norwegian Chess Federation would have been expected to assist the gamlbing company in lobbying the Norwegian government to change the law.

    Magnus Carlsen was all for the deal (as long as it was legal). He also announced a new Norwegian chess club and offer to pay the membership of the first 1,000 members, his critics suggested that this was meant to influence the vote - although it didn't seem to have a major impact.

    Gary Kasparov wrote an opinion piece on the matter, suggesting hypocrisy in a chess federation turning down gambling money, while hoping to accept government funding from a government that makes money out of gambling. Although, Kasparov seemed to draw the line at tobacco and alcohol sponsorship.

    https://chess24.com/en/read/news/gar...y-in-hypocrisy

    If the ACF, or state associations in Australia were offered a similar deal, I wonder if they would they be likely to accept? If so, what would they do with the money?

    What are people's opinions here on chess sponsorship? All sponsors expect something out of a deal, be it naming rights, exposure/advertising or the "halo effect" of being linked to something positive. Are some sponsorships unacceptable - if so, where do you draw the line?
    "On my chess set, all the pawns are Hamburglers" ~ Homer Simpson.

  2. #2
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    About 15-20 years ago a company that sells condoms was an official sponsor for Australian Olympic team. That was pretty much the only time when all the expenses of the team were covered; players also received uniforms, etc.

    There was a lot of criticism and starting from the next Olympiad there was no sponsorship offered.

  3. #3
    CC International Master ElevatorEscapee's Avatar
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    Thanks, I'd forgotten about the Ansell Condoms sponsorship - (I think they had a variety called "checkmate"). I recall that it certainly generated some interest, I wasn't aware of the criticism.
    "On my chess set, all the pawns are Hamburglers" ~ Homer Simpson.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElevatorEscapee View Post
    Thanks, I'd forgotten about the Ansell Condoms sponsorship - (I think they had a variety called "checkmate"). I recall that it certainly generated some interest, I wasn't aware of the criticism.
    At least this way, some chess players (can think of several) - could learn what condoms are for .
    Interested in Chess Lessons?
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  5. #5
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElevatorEscapee View Post
    In return for the sponsorship, the Norwegian Chess Federation would have been expected to assist the gamlbing company in lobbying the Norwegian government to change the law.
    That's the bit I would have been most uncomfortable with as an administrator. Chess organisations would be straying into an area beyond their knowledge and saying things they didn't necessarily believe in in order to further their cause.

    I'm not convinced chess needs to be too worried about being super-ethically-pure in who it merely accepts as a sponsor (though I'd consider tobacco outside the limits). A wide range of potential sponsors would be controversial with some. FIDE has signed an agreement with Coca-Cola (https://www.fide.com/component/conte...coca-cola.html) and I haven't seen any complaints about that yet, though perhaps I'm not looking in the right place.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    FIDE has signed an agreement with Coca-Cola (https://www.fide.com/component/conte...coca-cola.html) and I haven't seen any complaints about that yet, though perhaps I'm not looking in the right place.
    Yes, this is correct description. You are not looking in the right place. There is a lot of criticism on facebook.

  7. #7
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    I am posting this having only read the most recent post by Vlad. This came to mind immediately:
    https://youtu.be/AlVr-GOuvzQ?t=233

  8. #8
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vlad View Post
    Yes, this is correct description. You are not looking in the right place. There is a lot of criticism on facebook.
    How much? It's true I didn't look there but the original announcement on FIDE's Facebook page received five comments, one of which was negative and that was John Summerfield saying, and I quote his contribution in its entirety, "Yuk". On Twitter there were two negative replies out of ten. One was from a poster with no avatar, 20 tweets in 10 years and 8 followers. Another said Coca-Cola was a "terrible drink" but didn't say whether they had an issue with the sponsorship.

    Of course on social media you will find some people complaining about anything. Is there an organised page of opposition with even 200 members? Is anyone getting reported in the media opposing the deal (nothing I can see on Google News)? Are prominent players opposing it in the chess media?
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 16-07-2019 at 12:28 PM.

  9. #9
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    We had a discussion a while back about whether paying a tournament entry and receiving a prize dependent on the tournament outcome was a form of gambling. My opinion was that the answer is Yes (though there are also differences) but it doesn't concern me. Gambling as such is not a bad thing, and in a broader sense weighing up risks vs rewards of possible outcomes of a situation is a normal human activity and skill.

    Having said that, I don't gamble (in the sense of betting) much, because while I may be an average chess player I'm quite good at arithmetic. (I also don't drink much Coke, for medical reasons.)

    Notwithstanding my own view, I'd be cautious about accepting the gambling deal described above, for various reasons.

    1. I would be mindful that other people have a different opinion and it could be divisive.

    2. It may not be a good look in the broader community. Chess does benefit from positioning itself as a wholesome activity. My local primary school invites me to coach their chess group but I've never come across a poker coach there.

    3. Kevin Bonham's point about the requirement to lobby on behalf of the sponsor is important. This is outside the skills and duties of a chess governing body. Perhaps if Magnus were saying that he would personally manage this project at arms length then it might be a smaller issue.

    4. It would be unclear how long this deal would last. If the lobbying efforts fail, as they probably will, would the sponsor pull out and look elsewhere?

    Although point 3 would still apply, the deal might otherwise be more attractive if it involved sponsorship of specific events rather than chess as a whole.

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