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.