Welsh football club Cardiff City FC recently signed a sponsorship deal with a prominent online gambling company only to have it blocked by British Gambling Commission regulators due to its lack of a UK operating license.
The sponsorship deal was brokered with 777 following talks with Football League regulators who cleared the way for the deal to go ahead. The deal would have enabled the football club to display the 777 logo on the club’s shirts. Unfortunately, 777 are not licensed to operate in the UK and do not fall into the category of an online gambling company White List drawn up by government department officials.
This White List is a collection of online gambling companies that have been approved by the government regulation authorities as properly licensed and regulated. Companies that are accepted onto the list are free to advertise their brands, according to the guidelines set out under the terms of their license agreement, however they choose within the UK.
European Union based operators or those based in countries that have reciprocal policies may apply for acceptance to the White List, but not those operating outside this category. Unfortunately for casino, their base is in the Philippines, which is not one of those reciprocal countries and this therefore bars them from applying for inclusion in the list.
Cardiff City FC chairman Peter Ridsdale is looking for ways to keep the prospective deal afloat, although it may mean that the online gambling operator will need to take action in relocating to a country that will provide them with the eligibility to join the White List and reactivate the deal with his club. Mr Risedale said that he was confident that the club were able to replace the sponsors if it happens that there is no easy resolution to this problem. He added that while it is disappointing for the club, it is not to be seen as an embarrassment as everything was cleared with the English Football League prior to negotiations for the deal commencing.
While this may seem a blow for the freedom of the online gambling industry to advertise its presence within the sports sector, it proves that regulation and controls can be hugely beneficial to the country setting out those regulations. This provides a means for promoting home licensed operators while preventing outside un-licensed operators from stealing their business.