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Betway sponsors UK basketball event days after sponsorship review

Betway secures deal with UK Basketball

JUST days after Labour called upon football clubs to cease gambling sponsorships, Betway has secured a deal with the 2017 British Basketball All-Stars Championship.

The online gambling operator announced it is the main sponsor of the new event, where the best British basketball players will show off their talent at the O2 Arena, London on September 24.

The event will see eight of the UK’s top basketball teams, featuring five players per team, competing across 13 matches. The games will also feature shorter-timed quarters and unlimited roll-on/roll-off subs, as well a double point power play and timeouts.

The teams are competing for a huge £100,000, with £20,000 set aside for the champions, and the whole event will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, as well as in over 70 countries around the world.

Director of Marketing and Operations at Betway, Anthony Werkman, said the company is excited to get involved with “a well-established sport.”

“At Betway, we like to be at the forefront of new ideas and we strongly believe that the All-Stars Championship will deliver a thrilling experience to basketball fans and Betway customers at the O2 Arena,” he said.

“We’re also really pleased to be working with Matchroom Sport on another event. We have an excellent relationship with them and have worked on a number of successful sponsorships together.”

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Chairman of Matchroom Sport, Barry Hearn, said Betway partnerships have proven to be beneficial time and time again.

“Over the years, we’ve enjoyed a close relationship centred on many of our sports including darts, snooker, boxing, pool, and now basketball,” he said.

“The All-Stars Championship is going to be a thrilling day out, showcasing one of the UK’s most up-and-coming sports. It’s the best of British, as well as some exciting All-Stars, and I believe this can be the start of something big both for basketball and Betway.”

The foray into basketball is a good idea for Betway, with the deputy leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, calling on football authorities to stop gambling sponsorships.

Watson said a Labour government would introduce legislation to ban gambling sponsorships including logos on football shirts if the Football Association didn’t.

The Labour party wants to pressure the government ahead of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) review of gambling advertising and fixed-odds betting terminals. The report is expected to be published by early November.

But Betway has defended the betting industry’s capacity to sponsor football clubs, including the English Premier League.

Betway is featured on the West Ham United team shirts and has been since February 2015. Nine other teams in the Premier League feature a gambling company as their official sponsor too.

Marketing and Operations Director of Betway Group, Anthony Werkman, told SBC that reputable licenced betting companies implement safeguards to protect vulnerable people via ‘sophisticated algorithms that proactively monitor customer behaviour patterns”.

“Betway has invested heavily in technology to prevent underage gambling,” Werkman said.

“Our market-leading compliance team accurately and immediately work to identify problem and suspicious gambling.”

He added that the responsible marketing policy in place “ensures people falling into these groups are not targeted in the first place.”

“We comply with and fully support the strict regulation in place to ensure betting company logos cannot appear on youth team playing kit, or children’s sized merchandise.”

Werkman said the company intervenes if any unusual betting behaviour is recorded.

He also noted the benefits for betting companies when it comes to gambling sponsorships.

“Broadcast to hundreds of countries, millions of homes and billions of people every season, the Premier League is the most-watched professional sport league in the world. For a global brand like Betway, it offers unrivalled exposure,” he said.

“Given the intrinsic relationship and audience overlap between betting and football, shirt sponsorship is a natural, obvious and valuable advertising placement for bookmakers.

But he added that these companies are subject to stronger regulations.

“Rightly, any partner of a world-class level sport competition or organisation can expect to be closely vetted and scrutinised,” he said.

“Betway is licensed and regulated by the Gambling Commission and a proud member of numerous industry groups and bodies.”

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