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Sportsbook Operators Under Pressure in UK and Germany


UK sportsbooks will no longer be able to live stream FA Cup games, while a soccer fan group in Germany wants to ban gambling sponsorships. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Major issues

Sportsbooks in the UK will no longer be able to provide FA Cup live streams to bettors after the end of the current rights deal, while a German soccer fan body is calling for an end to gambling companies sponsoring teams.

sportsbooks will no longer be able to show live streams of any FA Cup games

The English Football Association (FA) has announced that sportsbooks will no longer be able to show live streams of any FA Cup games when the current rights deal comes to an end in 2024. Upon signing the existing deal in 2017, sports data company IMG had the ability to sell live stream packages of FA Cup games to seven sportsbooks.

In Germany, the Unsere Kurve soccer fan body issued a statement on Tuesday regarding its concerns over the role of gambling companies in the sport. The main focus of these concerns is the extra public exposure that gambling advertising gets through sports. The group believes there is a risk that soccer fans will see betting as being a natural part of the sport and think that the activity is harmless.

Concerns in the UK over FA Cup live streams

The spotlight was placed on sportsbooks live streaming FA Cup games recently after The Daily Mail reported that 23 of the 32 third-round fixtures were shown on bet365 and just two were broadcast live on television. People could only live stream them through the bet365 sportsbook if they had made a deposit or placed at least a £5 ($6.85) bet in the previous 24 hours. The other sportsbooks that are part of the IMG deal are Betfair, Ladbrokes, Coral, William Hill, Paddy Power, and Unibet.

The FA Cup is the oldest national soccer competition in the world that is still active, having debuted during the 1871-1872 season.

As a result of the attention on this streaming arrangement, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) Minister Nigel Adams ordered an immediate review by the FA’s executive team of the media rights deal for the FA Cup. On the back of the controversy, sportsbooks offered to allow their IMG packages to be shown on terrestrial television. This would mean that the general public would have access to all FA Cup games.

The six-year deal that the FA signed with IMG in January 2017 allowed sportsbooksto buy FA Cup broadcasting rights from the beginning of the 2018-2019 season up to the close of the 2023-2024 season. In July 2017, the FA had announced that it was cutting ties with gambling firms.

Plenty of demands in Germany

Among the demands from the Unsere Kurve fan alliance in Germany is a ban on sports betting-related advertising in stadiums and across various forms of sports media. It also does not want operators to be able to partner with the likes of athletes and other public figures.

Unsere Kurve states that it represents the interest of fans of numerous Bundesliga clubs including FC Cologne, Union Berlin, Eintracht Berlin, and Mainz.

Another demand is the significant expansion of preventative measures when it comes to gambling addiction, calling for the adoption of a new sports betting warning: “Profits do not increase significantly through mature expert knowledge.” The fan group has a separate list of requests relating to sports associations and clubs, including having these organizations voluntarily end betting partnerships by July 2022. Some other demands include increasing the amount of money going to fund gambling addiction programs, as well as stopping active athletes from placing sports bets.

It is not just in Germany where there are calls to ban gambling companies from sponsoring soccer teams. On Thursday, the DCMS undersecretary Chris Philp is set to meet football leaders in the region to outline the government’s feelings regarding gambling-related sponsors. On the back of the ongoing government review of UK gambling legislation, it appears that significant changes and even a blanket ban could be on the way for such sponsorship deals in the UK.



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