The gambling sector does not seem willing to end its association with sports, considering the latest deal signed between Everton FC and an Australian-founded cryptocurrency casino operator. Although the authorities and regulators in the UK have been trying to reduce the links between gambling companies and professional sports, especially football, neither one of the parties has been actually willing to cut its ties with the other due to mutual benefits.
Earlier this month, the English Premier League (EPL) club announced that it had signed a multi-year partnership agreement with Stake.com after losing some of its sponsors as a result of the sanctions brought it after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Only recently, the crypto casino operator announced that the Canadian pop star Drake had become its global brand ambassador, with the popular musician having already appeared on live streams to promote the services of the Stake.com platform.
As reported in 2021 by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Stake.com – which, by the way, has nothing to do with the low-cost share trading platform featuring the same name – was established in Australia by two gaming entrepreneurs – the 26-year-old Ed Craven and the 28-year-old Bijan Tehrani. Since its inception, the cryptocurrency casino website has managed to turn into one of the largest online casinos on a global scale, handling more than $100 billion in bets across a variety of casino games and sports betting services.
Currently, Stake.com is legally partly operated from Australia thanks to existing loopholes in its domestic market’s legislation that provides online casinos with the chance to operate in the country in case they do not target local customers. On the other hand, cryptocurrency betting is suspended in the UK.
Other EPL Football Clubs Already Dropped Gambling Companies as Sponsors
Everton FC, in its turn, remains a top-tier football club in the UK after the club managed to avoid relegation this year after a disappointing 2021/2022 season where it finished in the 16th position in the ranking. As mentioned above, the EPL football club lost a number of sponsors as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine, which led to certain financial difficulties.
At the time when the two parties announced their partnership, the exact size of the sponsorship agreement was not revealed. According to a publication of The Athletic, the sponsorship deal of the Russia-associated companies with Everton was worth about £20 million a year, so some experts have shared that the partnership with Stake.com could feature a similar financial clause.
A couple of years ago, when Everton FC swapped its gambling sponsor SportPesa for the British online car retailer Cazoo, the club’s CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale confessed that, in an ideal world, the club would prefer having a different kind of sponsor than a gambling company. Well, Everton, is obviously not living in an ideal world, considering the latest addition to its sponsorship agreements portfolio.
Some of the top-tier clubs in the UK, such as Crystal Palace, Newcastle and Wolverhampton Wanderers, have already turned down their gambling sponsors this season, in the light of the long-anticipated amendments that are expected to be recently announced by the country’s Government. As previously reported by Casino Guardian, the local authorities have been trying to clamp down on the links between gambling and football in order to protect children and vulnerable adults from creating an association between football matches and betting.
Everton FC, however, seems to have preferred going to the dark side, signing a long-term sponsorship agreement with a cryptocurrency casino company.
Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.