GVC Pull Plug on Shirt Sponsorship Deal with Sunderland

GVC Pull Plug on Shirt Sponsorship Deal with Sunderland

GVC Holdings’ betting exchange company BETDAQ have terminated their shirt sponsorship deal with English League One club Sunderland AFC as the company continue their Changing for the Bettor social responsibility initiative.

GVC last month voiced their support for a blanket ban on sports betting advertising in the UK, including an end to gambling-related football shirt sponsorships and TV ads.

They have now acted along these principles by ending their relationship with Sunderland and have donated its shirt sponsorship to charity ‘Children With Cancer’, who will replace BETDAQ as principle SAFC partner for next season – the 2019-2020 campaign.

The FTSE betting group has confirmed that Sunderland will receive full compensation of its sponsorship contract.

Sunderland have confirmed the new shirt sponsor will be worn for the first time this weekend in their League One Play-Off final with Charlton Athletic at Wembley on Sunday, which will be sown live on Sky Sports.

GVC, the UK’s largest gambling company who also own Ladbrokes and Coral, have stated that the company will no longer support sports sponsorships and advertising on perimeter marketing boards "to allow sporting fans to watch their favourite teams without seeing any incentives to bet.”

In its Changing for the Bettor mandate, GVC governance calls for ‘industry peers and UK football governing bodies to support this move and take action in this area’ and it is hoped the latest move with Sunderland will see other bookmakers follow suit.

GVC Tackling Gambling Harm

The move is just one of many recent initiatives GVC have committed to in order to improve their own social responsibility status in the hope that other operators will follow suit.

Chief executive Kenny Alexander was a key figure in bringing about the pre-watershed whistle-to-whistle TV advertising ban on live sports which is due be implemented in the UK in August.

Earlier this year, GVC announced a $5million commitment towards a five-year research project in conjunction with Harvard Medical School, providing academics with anonymous customer data from across its betting and gaming products in order to gain insight into how problem gambling develops.

Furthermore, the company voluntarily reduced the maximum stake allowed on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in Northern Ireland from £100 to £2, to stay consistent with new legislation in the rest of the UK, despite not being legally required to do so as Northern Ireland is governed by the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements Order 1985 rather than the Gambling Act 2005.

Other measures taken by GVC to tackle gambling related harm include their plans to voluntarily increasing investment on RET (Research, Education and Treatment) from 0.2% of gross gambling revenue to 1% by 2022.