Sevilla FC Face Sanctions if 12Bet.com Promoted in UK29th September 2009 7:51 am GMT
The UK Gambling Commission has issued an advice note reminding gambling operators who are not licensed in a white-listed jurisdiction that they may not promote their products in the UK, including through shirt sponsorship deals. Moreover, the Commission said that sponsors of foreign teams playing in the UK in international competitions must adhere to the same criteria, with the first test of this being tonight's UEFA Champions League match between Rangers and Sevilla.
The notice was issued following the recent debacle of 777ball.com's attempted sponsorship of Cardiff City FC, which was scuppered by the Gambling Commission because 777ball.com operates under a license issued by First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corporation in the Philippines, an online gaming regulatory authority which has not met the standards required to be included in the UK's white list of approved licensing jurisdictions.
Cardiff City FC, who said they had entered into the sponsorship in good faith following consultation with the Football League, cancelled their agreement after meetings with 777ball.com representatives last week. As reported by Gaming Intelligence today, the club has now signed a new shirt sponsorship deal with Isle of Man licensed SBOBET.com. (more)
Following publication of its advice note, the Gambling Commission's first test will come later today when Rangers play host to Spain's Sevilla at the Ibrox stadium in Glasgow.
Sevilla entered into a two-year sponsorship agreement at the start of the current football season with Asian online gaming operator 12Bet.com, another First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corporation licensee. (more)
Under section 331 of the UK Gambling Act 2005, it is an offence to advertise foreign gambling within Great Britain if the operator is not either licensed within the European Economic Area (EEA) or Gibraltar, or one of the states that have been approved by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for inclusion on the government's white list.
At present, Antigua & Barbuda, Alderney, the Isle of Man and Tasmania are the only non-EEA licensing jurisdictions who have made it onto the DCMS white list.
If Sevilla do take to the pitch tonight wearing their 12Bet.com branded shirts, sanctions include either a maximum fine of £5,000 or six months imprisonment.