The fact that LeoVegas recently had to pay a massive fine in the UK, was the subject of an insider trading probe, and is close to becoming part of MGM Resorts International isn’t slowing it down. The gaming operator is now the official casino partner of English Premier League (EPL) soccer team Manchester City.
The UK is undergoing a number of changes to its gambling industry, one of which is a call for a ban on relationships between sports teams and gaming companies. The EPL backs a voluntary system that allows clubs to decide if they want to participate, and Man City apparently doesn’t.
LeoVegas is now the club’s official betting partner in Europe and Canada. The new arrangement comes just after a shift in power of the UK’s government, which is also expected to increase attention to gambling reform at the national level.
New Season, New Look
Pep Guardiola’s Man City is getting off on the right foot in the new UEFA Champions League. It played its first game of the group stage this past Tuesday, taking down Sevilla 4-0.
It followed that with the new partnership. LeoVegas, which recently received a fine of £1.32 million (US$1.6 million) for anti-money laundering failures, will now be seen across Man City’s home fields, Etihad Stadium and Academy Stadium. The former is the men’s regular home pitch, while the latter is where the women’s team plays its home games.
The sports betting and online gaming operator’s logo will also be stitched into the men’s training kit sleeve for the current season. In addition, Man City and LeoVegas will create co-branded content that could lead to publicity campaigns and prizes for fans.
The two entities already enjoy popularity in Europe. This isn’t true in Canada, however, as the country is just now beginning to expand its sports betting industry and progress is slow. Ontario arrived first, but the results haven’t been impressive.
LeoVegas is confident Canada holds a lot of promise. It already received a license in Ontario, becoming one of the first to launch in the province in April.
When the operator reported its second-quarter revenue last month, the results didn’t reflect a drastic change. Although its sports betting activity is on the rise, its overall group revenue of $101.1 million was just a 1% increase compared to the second quarter of 2021.
Sponsorships Still Causing Controversy
A number of countries have proposed or implemented sports sponsorships by gambling companies. Italy, Australia, the UK, and others don’t believe they offer any real-world value to sports or consumers.
However, these relationships continue to gain ground. Brazil has seen a number of new deals lately, as has the US.
A new sponsorship agreement is likely to stir up controversy once again. The Argentine Football Association (AFA) is bringing in BC.Game as its newest sponsor. The cryptocurrency gambling platform, run by Curacao-licensed BlockDance B.V., has become the organization’s global crypto sponsor.
Choosing BC.Game seems slightly odd on the surface. Argentina is in the process of building out its iGaming market and there are plenty of well-established gaming companies that the AFA could have selected. There are also concerns about the integrity of some of Curacao’s gaming operators.
That isn’t to say that BC.Game is among them. The six-year-old platform has recently been looking for ways to stand out. Sponsorships help, with the company becoming the crypto casino sponsor of North American esports organization Cloud9 last month.
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