EPL Could Lose its Asian Betting Sponsors


There’s no doubt that the UK Gambling Commission’s soon to be introduced new online gambling laws/regulations are going to shake things up quite a bit.

We’ve already seen a number of the major UK facing operators begin cleaning house on their accepted jurisdictions policies in anticipation of applying for a license to operate locally. Throw in the point of consumption tax and other restrictions and waters are looking a little choppy for the likes of William Hill, Ladbrokes, Betfair and a long list of other well known bookies.

But they’re not the only ones set to take a bit of a hit.

There was an interesting piece in the Financial Times yesterday titled, Premier League clubs face £90m blow in gambling crackdown. It contends that English Premier League clubs are at risk of losing around £90 million worth of sponsorship currently coming from Asian based online betting operators.

Winning Asian Customers

Q. If you want to grow your brand in Asia, where do you advertise?

A. English Premier League

Yep, seems the the best way to win the hearts and minds of punters in Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Singapore, China, Korea and rest of Asia is not via endorsement of local sporting events, but rather the EPL. Its mass appeal across all of Asia makes it the ideal platform to grow brand recognition throughout the entire region.

Under current UK laws, as long as an operator is licensed in a white-listed jurisdiction (Gibraltar, Malta, Isle of Man etc) they are are able to advertise their product in the UK. And that’s what the big Asian facing (but white-list jurisdiction licensed) operators have been doing for a number of years now.

Asian operator sponsorship of EPL clubs for the 2013/2014 season is prolific. Of the 20 clubs in the EPL, 14 have sponsorship arrangements in place with Asian facing operators in deals ranging from shirt sponsorship to official betting partner and worth a total of around £90 million.

Bodog – official Asian betting partner
Paddy Power – betting partner in the UK, Ireland and Italy

Aston Villa
Dafabet – official main club sponsor

Cardiff City
No betting sponsors

Coral – European betting partner

Crystal Palace
12Bet – official betting partner

Paddy Power – optimum partner
Dafabet – optimum partner

No betting sponsors

Hull City
SBOBet – official Asian betting partner

188Bet – official international betting partner
Paddy Power – official partner

Manchester City
188Bet – official international betting partner

Manchester United
No betting sponsors (but very long list of sponsors from just about every other industry!)

Newcastle United
138.com – betting partner

Norwich City
SBOBet – Asian betting partner

SBOBet – Asian betting partner

Stoke City
Bet 365 – principal club partner (naturally)

TLC88.com – Asian betting partner

Swansea City
SBOBet – official Asian betting partner

Tottenham Hotspur
Betfred – official partner
Fun88 – official partner

West Bromwich Albion
TLC88.com – platinum gaming partner

West Ham United
SBOBet – official Asian betting partner

Deals under Threat

Under the new laws coming into effect in August 2014, a white-list license will not be enough to allow Dafabet, Bodog, SBOBet etc to continue their sponsorship arrangements with EPL clubs. They’ll need a UK Gaming Commission license, and they may have difficulties getting these given the nature of their operations and advertising focus.

The Commission has ruled that it would grant UK licences only to operators that are,

“…a British facing business and either currently transact with British consumers or have a clear business plan for doing so”.

This could be hard to argue when your perimeter advertising is in Asian languages rather than English!

So, the 2014/15 EPL season may see a bunch of new shirt sponsors and stadium signage. Of course there is also the chance that the likes of Dafabet, Bodog, SBOBet, 138.com and 188Bet will simply tweak their advertising and operational focus just enough to comply with the new rules.

I suspect the lion’s share of club’s £90 million in sponsorship will remain.

1 reply
  1. LD
    LD says:

    Liverpool and 188Bet clearly aren’t concerned about the forthcoming rule changes.

    They just announced they will be extending their partnership until the end of the 2015-16 season.

    The PR reads…
    “Under the two-year extension, 188Bet will continue to use the club’s platforms in Brazil and Asia to promote exclusive promotions and gaming prices surrounding each Liverpool fixture”

    Not exactly a British market facing strategy 😉


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