Genting Casinos is to be a shirt sponsor for English Premier League soccer team Aston Villa in the 2011-12 season, which starts in August.
Genting Casinos runs the UK gaming operation of Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group. It consists of 44 land-based casinos under four distinct brands, and an online casino and poker room under the GentingCasino.com brand regulated by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission.
The fact however that Genting Casino’s shirt sponsorship—featured on the away strip of the Aston Villa first team—also includes Chinese characters, and that EPL matches are screened live all over Asia, indicates that Genting is keen to promote its casino offer to a global audience. Genting Group also operates the Resorts World Genting casino resort in Malaysia, Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore, and Resorts World Manila in the Philippines.
Aston Villa, controlled by US billionaire Randy Lerner, is based in the UK’s second city Birmingham. Villa are to take part in the Barclays Asia Trophy 2011 in Hong Kong in late July. The tournament will also feature EPL teams Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers, and local Hong Kong side Kitchee.
Another Midlands side from the EPL will also feature Chinese characters on their home and away strip next season. West Bromwich Albion, currently on a pre-season tour of the United States, are being sponsored by Bodog, an online gambling company founded in 1994 by Canadian businessman Calvin Ayre.
Four other EPL teams will also have shirt sponsorship from online betting and gaming companies this season. They are: Bolton Wanderers (188BET); Sunderland (tombola); newly-promoted Swansea City (32Red) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (Sportingbet).