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UK Gambling Commission To Investigate The FA Cup Betting Deal

Online Betting

The UK Gambling Commission is investigating a deal to show FA Cup games through betting sites.

The UK regulator announced this week that it is investigating the deal after the Football Association (FA) sparked criticism after selling the streaming rights for the games to several online bookmakers via agency IMG. The websites who acquired the rights include Bet365, Paddy Power, Unibet, Ladbrokes, William Hill, Coral, and Betfair.

However, the streams were only available to customers who held active accounts with the bookmakers or, in the case of Bet365, only available to customers who had placed a bet or made a deposit in their account at least 24 hours before the event. According to BBC Sport, IMG also sold streaming rights to companies overseas but haven’t confirmed to which firms.

The deal was struck back in January 2017, just six months before the FA followed through with its promise to cut its ties with gambling firms. Still, the deal stands and has been criticised by both fans and MPs across the United Kingdom, with the government going as far as urging the FA to reconsider its deal with the betting sites.

Now, as the criticism continues to ramp up, the UK Gambling Commission has announced that it will be investigating the deal. According to the Commission, sanctions for the bookmakers involved can include a warning, having their operating license revoked, or be given penalties.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Gambling Commission Chief Executive Neil McArthur said: “Our investigations into that matter are ongoing. I understand why there are concerns, and to be clear we already require gambling operators to market, advertise or engage in sponsorship in a socially responsible way. We are in touch with all operators in the deal to find out what they did to satisfy themselves.”

The Commission’s Recent Clampdown

The news comes just days after the UK Gambling Commission announced that from April 2020, gamblers will be prohibited from using credit cards for gambling both online and offline. The ban, which may also include popular payment option PayPal, is set to come into effect April 14th.

The gambling regulator also recently announced that from the end of March, all gambling operators in the UK must participate in the GamSTOP self-exclusion scheme or risk losing their license. The charity’s scheme allows customers to self-exclude themselves from all websites for a select period of time.

A report from earlier this month, meanwhile, claimed that the Commission is planning on banning VIP schemes after a report found that dozens of casino operators rely heavily on VIP customers, most of which make up a majority of the operators’ total deposits and some of which are classed as problem gamblers.

Meanwhile, a group of cross-party MPs last year urged the UK government to introduce a maximum betting limit on online video slots as well as stricter regulations regarding affordability checks. The group were already pushing for an end to use of credit cards at online casinos.

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