Manchester City FC has formed a partnership with 8XBet that will see the brand become the official betting partner of the club in Asia.
The gambling firm will gain exposure through LED signage in the Etihad Stadium and a presence in the region across digital assets and the Premier League club’s Cityzens platform. However, the new deal has brought some concerns.
Man City reported that 8XBet is licensed and regulated in Great Britain by the Gambling Commission, however reports are suggesting that this statement is false, with some football fans highlighting alleged regulatory and legal issues on Twitter. .
Moreover, another tweet against the club’s decision read: “Sports gambling is prohibited in almost every Asian country. According to UN and ARF reports, over 60% of gambling there is illegal, and directly linked to criminal gangs. Yet PL clubs team up with operators they know nothing of.”
Also raising suspicions is the incomplete 8XBet website, which currently shows ‘coming your way soon’.
The news also comes in the midst of various updates of the gambling shirt ban in the English top-flight. Recent reports suggest that these Premier League clubs are about to vote on the decision to voluntarily withdraw from betting partnerships..
The League already supports gambling sponsors being phased out within three years – but 14 out of 20 clubs would need to vote in favour for it to be approved.
Regardless of the backlash, Tom Boyle, Vice-President of Global Partnerships Marketing and Operations at City Football Group, said: “8Xbet shares our commitment to entertaining and providing great experiences to customers and fans alike.
“The new partnership provides the club an opportunity to further increase our presence across the region and we look forward to working with 8Xbet.”