British Bookmakers Will Not Be Given Access to Live Streaming Rights in the 2024 Tender, FA Says

British bookmakers will not be able to attract sports fans to their platforms with the provision of live FA Cup matches because the Football Association (FA) decided not to sell live streaming rights to them during the next tender.

According to media reports, UK gambling operators will be practically left out of the 2024 UK live streaming rights offer. The decision comes at a time when the Football Association has been subject to a lot of criticism that bookmakers took advantage of the offered live streaming rights to force soccer fans who were willing to watch some of the games live to sign up and fund a betting account on their platforms in order to do so.

The existing deal under which live streaming rights are being offered was agreed in 2017 via the agency serving as an intermediary for England’s soccer governing body. Although sports betting companies are not directly involved in it under the provision of the agreement, 7 bookmakers – Ladbrokes, Coral, bet365, Paddy Power, Betfair, William Hill, and Unibet – were provided with the opportunity to reserve live match streams for new customers by inking individual contracts with IMG, who was the aforementioned intermediary at the time.

The current arrangements resulted in controversial situations that drew a lot of criticism because during the third round of the FA Cup competition British bookmakers became the only source of live streaming options, so customers were pretty much forced to register on their platforms in order to be able to access live streaming of the matches. These terms, however, will expire in 2024.

Under the latest announcement of the FA, during the next tender gambling companies will not be able to make such agreements in the next tender.

FA Decides to Cut Ties with Gambling Operators Following Mounting Pressure

The Football Association has become subject to the mounting pressure of campaigners who have been calling it to review its model to sell media rights since January 2020. At the time, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Gambling-Related Harm raised serious concerns about the aforementioned agreement between IMG and England’s soccer regulatory body that pretty much made it possible for local bookmakers to find a way to circumvent the regulation.

In order to respond to the increasing criticism, especially after reports emerged that the Football Association had forced IMG to withdraw from the live streaming rights agreement, the 7 gambling operators voluntarily made a proposition to dispose of their live streaming rights for FA Cup matches. They also suggested giving up their exclusivity rights on certain games from the FA Cup tournament with immediate effect.

Previous reports have noted that the exclusivity rights owned by British bookmakers for certain matches of the competition were scheduled to be ended after the 2021/2022 season. After this happens, the matches would be simulcast on the digital platform of the Football Association.

England’s soccer governing body has decided to cut all links with the local gambling sector, especially at the time when the UK Government is eagerly expected to publish the white paper of its review of the country’s Gambling Act 2005. According to reports, the full suspension of gambling sponsorship deals in professional sports could be one of the measures included in the Government’s white paper.

As Casino Guardian previously reported, the Football Association decided to cut its direct links with local bookmakers in 2017. At the time, it suddenly ended its existing sponsorship agreement with Ladbrokes, which was estimated at a total of £4 million annually.

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Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.
Daniel Williams
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