Sports Governing Bodies Warned of Tough Restrictions by UKGC

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A very stern letter has been sent by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission to sports teams and governing bodies warning them not to enter into sponsorship deals with gambling operators that are not licensed in the United Kingdom.

When the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act of 2014 came into effect on 1st November, 2014, it stipulated that all gambling operators serving the UK public were required to be licensed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission.

The fact that several sports teams are still sponsored by offshore gambling operators who are not licensed under the new laws has resulted in the United Kingdom Gambling Commission warning that these teams are breaking the law and are liable to face prosecution for advertising the operators’ brands.

Nic Tofiluk forwarded a letter to Sporting Governing Bodies stating “I am writing in relation to the Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act 2014 and its implications for the way in which gambling may be advertised in Great Britain, which is particularly relevant to you given the close relationship between betting and sport.”

“You may be aware that all remote gambling operators selling into the British market, whether based here or abroad, will be required to hold a Gambling Commission license to transact with British based consumers,” he said.

“We are aware that in some cases commercial partnership arrangements (which include sponsorship) are in place between sports clubs or bodies and remote gambling operators who do not hold a Commission license. Those operators cannot in our view advertise their betting services without clarifying in the product as advertised and in reality that betting is not available to those in Britain.”

The letter also went on to say that any organizations engaging in sponsorship arrangements such as clubs could be liable under section 330 of the Act for the offence of unlawful advertising if they fail to ensure that the remote gambling activity is actually blocked to consumers in the UK and that this is clear to consumers.

The UK Gambling Commission also warned that if a sports body or club provides a link to an unlicensed sponsor on its website whose platforms are not blocked to British consumers, it could be liable to face prosecution under the Gambling Law.

U.K. Gambling Commission’s Explanation to Sporting Associations

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British sports governing bodies have received a written explanation from the UK Gambling Commission with regard to the implications for their members on the new UK point-of-consumption laws and the impact that this has on marketing and corruption in sports betting in terms of the Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act 2014.

The correspondence referring to “Land based advertising of online gambling” was signed off by Nick Tofiluk, the director of regulatory operations and includes the following –

“I am writing in relation to the Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act 2014 (the ‘Act’) and its implications for the way in which gambling may be advertised in Great Britain, which is particularly relevant to you given the close relationship between betting and sport.

“You may be aware that upon commencement of the Act all remote (“online”) gambling operators selling into the British market, whether based here or abroad, will be required to hold a Gambling Commission license to transact with British based consumers.

‘”As a result, overseas betting operators will be required to inform the Commission about suspicious betting patterns which will help combat illegal activity and corruption in sports betting.

“We are aware that in some cases commercial partnership arrangements (which include sponsorship) are in place between sports clubs or bodies and remote gambling operators who do not hold a Commission license (i.e. those who purport not to be making services available to consumers in Great Britain).

“Those operators cannot in our view advertise their betting services without both making it clear in the product as advertised and in reality that betting is not available to those in Britain.

“I am writing in relation to the Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act 2014 (the ‘Act’) and its implications for the way in which gambling may be advertised in Great Britain, which is particularly relevant to you given the close relationship between betting and sport.

“You may be aware that upon commencement of the Act all remote (“online”) gambling operators selling into the British market, whether based here or abroad, will be required to hold a Gambling Commission license. As a result, overseas betting operators will be required to inform the Commission about suspicious betting patterns which will help combat illegal activity and corruption in sports betting.

“We are aware that in some cases commercial partnership arrangements (which include sponsorship) are in place between sports clubs or bodies and remote gambling operators who do not hold a Commission license (i.e. those who purport not to be making services available to consumers in Great Britain).

“Those operators cannot in our view advertise their betting services without both making it clear in the product as advertised and in reality that betting is not available to those in Britain.

“This letter seeks to draw to your attention the risks to sports clubs and bodies of maintaining such relationships when the new Act comes into force.

Bet365 Extends Horseracing Sponsorship

Bet365, one of the top bookmakers in the betting industry and leading online gambling group has revealed that its’ existing agreement to sponsor Sandown Park Racecourse’s two day bet365 Meeting has been extended for a further period of three years.

The two day festival that is held at the end of April each year features the Grade One bet365 Celebration Chase and Grade Three bet365 Gold Cup Steeple Chase. This year saw the first of a new format, bet365 Flat Friday and bet365 Jump Finale on the Saturday and owing to its great success, these events will be continued.

Steve Ibberson, the Managing Director for Gaming at bet365, said that the extension of the sponsorship deal carried on an association that has turned the bet365 Meet into one of the industry’s signature events. He added that the time and effort from all those involved in driving the improvements have been considerable and it now stands as a true celebration of racing marking the official end of the Jump season.

The London Regional Director of the Jockey Club, Rupert Trevelyan said that they are delighted to announce that they will be working with bet365 for a further three years on a fantastic meeting that both launches Sandown Park’s Flat Season and celebrates the official end of the Jump Season. Trevelyan also said that bet365 has shown a real commitment to this meeting for many years – first sponsoring the meeting in 2008. He added that this new agreement will take their involvement to ten years by the running of the 2017 meeting and that Sandown Park is extremely grateful for their support.

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N.F.L. Team Signs Agreement with Fantasy Sports

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Boston based daily fantasy sports startup DraftKings has teamed with the New England Patriots on a marketing deal for the current N.F.L. season.

This is the first time that a daily fantasy site has entered into a partnership with any professional football team in the flourishing daily fantasy sports sector.

The deal will include enhanced public exposure for DraftKings through the popular LED display of its brand at the football club’s Gillette Stadium and its publicity content will also appear on New England Patriot’s social media accounts, newsletter as well as “Tip of the Week” on the Patriot’s official website.

Paul Liberman, the Marketing Executive at the fantasy sports company revealed that DraftKings is extremely proud of its association with the New England Patriots which is one of the league’s most successful franchises, right in their backyard.

Liberman also said that the Patriots are one of the league’s model franchises and that they are extremely pleased to align themselves with them. He added that they are looking forward to bringing the excitement of daily fantasy sports into the game-day experience.

Daily fantasy sports are continuing to fill the void that was left after the U.S. Department of Justice cracked down on online poker and other gambling during 2011. DraftKings and FanDuel are amongst other sites that allow their customers to compete for cash prizes in short term contests that are based on the real-life outcomes of sporting events. The contests are legal as federal law treats fantasy sports as games of skill and therefore not gambling.

New Jersey Sports Betting Bid Challenged by Sports Leagues

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Shortly after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie approved a new intrastate sports betting law, the US national sports leagues, led by NCAA and NFL noted that they are totally opposed to the new betting law and that they intend challenging the state once again.

A lawsuit was filed by the sports organizations a few days ago attempting to block the expansion of gambling that the new law represents by applying for an injunction from federal Judge Michael Ship, who ruled against New Jersey in its original attempt.

According to the league this latest initiative to legalize sports betting in the Garden State is an attempt to circumvent federal law. The bodies are supported by the fact that they have generally been successful in preventing New Jersey’s sports betting initiatives in previous court actions.

Court documentation shows that the legal challenge is being lead by the N.C.A.A., the N.F.L., the National Basketball Association and the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball.

It has been reported that New Jersey’s first sports book will have a soft opening on Sunday, 26th October, 2014 at Monmouth Park racetrack where operators plan to have 10 tellers taking bets on the National Football League only, and all by hand.

In order for a judge to grant an injunction, the leagues will have to prove that it will suffer irreparable harm from having sports wagered at Monmouth Park on Sunday.

State Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, who sponsored the bill that was signed by Governor Christie, said that he has a hard time believing that a judge will determine that the leagues can prove that they can be irreparably damaged by Monmouth racetrack’s taking bets, when people are placing bets every single day legally in Nevada. He added that they want a monopoly and want to have their gambling through fantasy sports.