The English Football Association announced that it has ended its sponsorship deals with betting company Ladbrokes as of 22nd June. It’s also stated that it will be stopping all other commercial agreements with gambling companies soon.
The decision to cut ties with Ladbrokes alone is estimated to cost the FA a whopping £4 million a year in sponsorship revenue. That’s a big chunk of cheese that it’s giving up.
Martin Glenn, Chief Executive of The FA, told the Daily Express that: “We would like to thank Ladbrokes for both being a valued partner over the last year and for their professionalism and understanding about our change of policy around gambling.”
The decision to start distancing itself from betting companies comes after the FA received backlash for the way it punished its players for violating betting regulations when it itself had deals in place with said betting companies.
Just last April, former Manchester City and Burnley midfielder Joey Barton was suspended for 18 months and fined £30,000 after he was found out for making over 1,200 bets on football matches over the period of a decade. FA regulations ban players from betting on matches, but we can all agree that the stench of hypocrisy is quite strong in this situation.
Jim Mullen, CEO of Ladbrokes Coral, said: “We understand The FA’s decision regarding their commercial partnerships on gambling.”
The FA has spent the last 3 months evaluating its stance as a governing body over football in Britain after the PR disaster it went through as a result of the Barton incident. Now, it looks like the FA is pushing for a total change in the way it deals with the sports betting world.
In May, FA chairman Greg Clarke explained that the FA was seriously reconsidering its position towards gambling, telling the Times newspaper that: “I have thought about the relationship between betting and football, and alcohol and football, and I raised this at the start of the season when I took over as chairman.” Later, the FA management team published a report on research they carried out on the subject, and the FA officially made their decision last Thursday.
That said, the FA will continue to work with betting companies, including Ladbrokes, in information sharing schemes regarding suspect betting patterns. This is part of regulating the market, which online casinos like Ladbrokes are obligated to do by law and also it’s in their own best interest to do so.
In addition, it’s also championing the introduction of football betting levies to be paid by bookmakers. This would effect a lot of online sportsbook casinos like Betway, Unibet and so on – beyond Ladbrokes – because it would cost them some substantial money to pay taxes on every one of the bets made.
However, the levies would also secure a steady cash in-flow for the FA which would be directly invested into football clubs and matches. Whether this will actually happen remains to be seen.
Many sportsbook casinos are currently located in Britain, and they are thoroughly regulated by the government. It is easily a multi-billion pound industry that contributes substantially to the British economy, and employs thousands of people from various sectors. Putting any sort of levy in place may not sit well with them.
Not to mention it would mean an increase in the price of betting for players. The money has to come from somewhere, after all. As this online casino review site recently commented, Australia can be taken as a recent example of what harsh taxes on betting companies could lead to. Australia’s 2017 enactment of a new gambling bill proved to be too harsh in terms of the taxation imposed on the industry, and many betting companies soon started leaving its shores. That’s billions lost to the Australian economy.
Due to this, despite the recent stance the FA has taken to online gambling, we somehow find it hard to believe that such levies will be put in place.