LONDON: Increasing concerns are being expressed in many spheres about the close links between gambling and football — but not in the Premier League.
Manchester City and Arsenal are the latest clubs to tie the sponsorship knots with companies whose forcus are the markets in south-east and eastern Asia.
City two-year deal with 188BET – the club’s “Official International Betting Partner” – means the company can use City’s crest and player images throughout key regions and markets in addition to having a strong presence on the club’s Malay, Thai, Chinese and Indonesian websites.
This is despite the fact that Premier League players themselves are prohibited from gambling on matches in competitions in which they are – or have been – involved in a given season.
Punishments for infringing these rules have been imposed lately on Tottenham’s Andros Townsend and Stoke forward Cameron Jerome.
Tim Glick, City’s chief commercial and operating officer, said: “188BET’s experience within the Premier League has made them one of the most popular bookmakers among football fans, making them the perfect fit for the club.
“Having built a strong reputation by providing customers with an extensive variety of products across multiple markets, we feel 188BET has the opportunity to become one of the biggest online gaming companies in the world. We look forward to working together to help them expand their operations, particularly throughout south-east Asia.”
The company’s managing director Nigel Singersaid: “Manchester City is a fantastic addition to our global partnerships with Premier League football clubs. We are delighted to be associated with a club with such strong heritage and a passionate and loyal global fan base. This will allow us to reach a broad international audience.
“Manchester City is one of the world’s most recognised football clubs and the combination of their proud history, worldwide fan base, and exciting plans for the future, means this is a great partnership opportunity for 188BET.”
Founded in 2006, 188BET has already established itself as an in-play specialist, with over 400 football leagues worldwide and over 10,000 live games for in-play betting every month.
South-east Asia has gained notoriety throughout world sport as the reported centre of the ‘illegal betting’ industry.
Arsenal have signed three-year deal to make online gaming website Bodog its official Asian betting partner. Exact terms of the partnership were undisclosed but the club confirmed it to be a “multi-million pound deal”.
The Gunners tripped around Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan in pre-season and Bodog will apparently look to “capitalise on this popularity in one of its most important strategic regions.”
Under the agreement, Bodog will be able to generate content and implement marketing drives using Arsenal first-team players, while accessing the club’s database to provide fans in Asia with tailored betting offers around matches.
Izhar Biran, Bodog’s marketing director, said: “The Premier League’s popularity in Asia is well documented and some clubs have been quicker than others to realise that potential. Arsenal has been particularly pro-active in the region for a number of years and the recent tour only serves to highlight that point.”
Other clubs jumping on the betting bandwagon are West Bromwich Albion and Hull City with TLC88 and SBOBet respectively.