The English Football Association (FA) has ended its partnerships with multiple betting operators, including Ladbrokes following a review of the industry.
In addition to branding on TV and inside stadiums, Ladbrokes was given exclusive rights to offer betting at Wembley Stadium. However, following a three-month review of this relationship and others, the FA has terminated the deal. The FA’s decision to cut ties with any gambling related company comes to 12 months after it signed a four-year deal with Ladbrokes. As part of the deal, Ladbrokes became the official betting partner of the FA across league events as well as the Emirates Cup and England internationals.
An End to the Conflict of Interest
According to reports, the rationale for the move is based on the FA’s dual stance when it comes to gambling. Under its own code of conduct, no member of a football club (from the players to coaches and executives) can bet on a football match anywhere in the world.
On top of this, stories involving high profile players such as Joey Barton have uncovered a culture of problem gambling among players. Taking these factors into account, the FA believes that it can no longer work to combat gambling in football (both in terms of match fixing and addiction) while promoting betting companies.
By cutting ties with gambling operators across the UK, the FA will lose around £4 million in revenue each year. However, one former footballer believes this is a small price to pay for what was a conflict of interest.
A Necessary Step for Both Industries
Reacting to the new, ex-Stoke City midfielder Matthew Etherington told BBC Radio 5 Live that the industry should be better “regulated.” This is something the UK Gambling Commission has been working on since it took control of licensing UK online betting industry back in 2014.
Measures such as spending limits across more time periods (daily, weekly and monthly) were introduced in 2015. Additionally, it is now mandatory for any live venue licensed by the UKGC to become part of its multi-operator self-exclusion scheme.
Under this system, a customer can ask to be blocked from playing at every live venue by using a single system. The UKGC is also working on a similar system for online operators and hopes to roll this out by the close of 2017.
Despite these positive changes, the FA will no longer be working with betting companies in a promotional CAPACITY. Although it will continue to share data with operators and the UKGC in a bid to combat issues such as match fixing and fraud, it will no longer work with betting sites on a one-to-one basis.