Annual Benefit to EU Sport from Betting Tops €3 billion

10th November 2009 8:49 am GMT

As it undertakes a wider study into the funding and integrity issues that are associated with sports betting, the Remote Gambling Association has said that research carried out on its behalf by the independent consultancy Europe Economics shows that an estimated €3.4 billion is contributed annually to European sport by public and private sector gambling operators.

The RGA, which represents the world's largest licensed online gambling businesses, said at its Annual General Meeting in London yesterday that the aim of the study was to provide an independent assessment of the current level of funding, in order to provide an evidence base for any future consideration of the financial and commercial relationship between betting and sporting industries, the subject of much debate across the EU.

The study draws on publicly available data and commercially sensitive information supplied by individual members of the RGA, and found that an estimated €3.4 billion is contributed annually to EU sport by public and private sector gambling operators combined, of which 62% is contributed by private sector organisations.

"This report is important in its own right because it demonstrates the scale of funding that flows through the gambling industry and into sports," said Clive Hawkswood, Chief Executive of the RGA. "If nothing else it must serve to counter any claims that sports do not benefit from the link with gambling or that the amounts they receive are inconsequential.

"However, this is an objective report which provides a context for those sorts of questions to be considered. Therefore, it deliberately does not look at whether this sum is too little or too much and nor did its remit extend to assessing how these considerable funds are used by the sports once they receive them."

Bob Young of Europe Economics said that sport across the EU would be much the poorer without the combined contributions that private sector gambling makes.

"The most striking thing that our research discovered about sports funding from private sector gambling is the sheer diversity of sport that it supports," said Young.

"State-mandated contributions, notably statutory levies and lotteries, tend to channel substantial amounts of private sector money into a limited range of sports, while the commercial and charitable contributions that private sector gambling operators make of their own volition distribute lesser sums across a much wider front."

Europe Economics is a specialist applied economics consultancy, which provides services in economic regulation, competition policy and the application of economics to public policy and business issues.

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