When it comes to funding summer camps and other athletics programs for kids, organizers are often desperate for sponsors wherever they can find them.
But when the money comes from casinos, the issue gets a bit thornier.
A strange connection
Children participating in a basketball summer camp on Coney Island, New York, received a new logo on their uniforms this year. While it’s not at all uncommon for sponsors to use these outfits for advertising, this particular example is ruffling some feathers.
Las Vegas Sands is in the process of pursuing a casino in the area called “The Coney,” and the project is emblazoned on the uniforms.
The company is also involved in some soccer-related sponsorships, even teaming up with David Beckham and other stars to provide some training tips.
As expected, however, not everyone is a fan of the idea that casinos could soon become a common sight in the Big Apple. And even more believe that they shouldn’t be in the business of using kids as walking billboards.
A divided outlook
While it’s not technically a violation of state law that bans using minors in ads for casinos, it appears that Las Vegas Sands is seeking refuge in a legal gray area of sorts by allowing the minors themselves to wear the ads.
For some parents, any opportunity to provide funding for these important programs is welcome news. For others, this seems like a devious ploy to indoctrinate kids with the perceived benefits of gambling.
There’s currently a rule in the works that, if approved, would prohibit marketing gambling-related entities to groups under the age of 21. The wording seems to apply to athletic uniforms worn by minors.
In the meantime, you can bet (no pun intended) that casinos will keep using any marketing tool at their disposal.