LeoVegas Group has signed a new sponsorship agreement with British football club Blackpool FC, making LeoVegas the principal partner and new front-of-shirt sponsor.

This sponsorship agreement is the latest in a series of deals with football clubs across Europe, through which LeoVegas aims to enhance its presence in the sports betting vertical.

As part of the deal, the LeoVegas logo will feature on the front of all 2023/24 first-team adult shirts.

Additionally, the LeoVegas brand will be displayed across in-stadia assets such as pitch-side LED screens and static boards at the Bloomfield Road Stadium. 

Sam Behar, LeoVegas director of UK and sponsorship, commented: “Partnering with a club like Blackpool that has such a long-standing history in the game presents a fantastic opportunity for LeoVegas Group to promote the greatest igaming experience across the United Kingdom.

“The club and the group share common values and a desire to grow, and we can’t wait for the season to get underway.”

Blackpool COO Jonty Castle added: “To be associated with LeoVegas – a globally recognised brand – on the front of all first-team and replica adult shirts is an exciting opportunity for the club, and provides the potential for greater international exposure.“

Sports betting focus

LeoVegas Group is actively working to increase brand visibility and strengthen its presence in the sports betting market.

This includes a focus on its brands, such as LeoVegas, BetUK, and the recent launch of Expekt in Denmark, as part of the company’s ongoing international expansion strategy.

Moreover, in the past year, the group has entered into strategic partnerships with top European football clubs, including Inter Milan and Manchester City to increase visibility and brand awareness in connection to sports.

Premier league striker Ivan Toney has been hit with an eight-month ban from football and fined £50,000 for breaching betting rules.

The Brentford FC forward and England international was charged with violations of the Football Association’s (FA) rule E8, which bans professional players from betting on games worldwide or from sharing information for betting purposes.

He was initially charged with 262 breaches that occurred between 25 February 2017, when Toney was still under contract at Newcastle United, and 23 January 2021.

However, the FA subsequently withdrew 30 of these breaches. Toney, who is the Premier League’s third top scorer this season with 20 goals, behind only Erling Haaland and Harry Kane, admitted to the remaining 232.  

The sanctions were subsequently imposed by an independent regulatory commission following a personal hearing.

Toney is only permitted to return to training with his club for the final four months of his suspension, starting from 17 September 2023.

In a statement, Toney said: “I am naturally disappointed that I will be unable to play for the next eight months.

“The written reasons for the commission’s decision have not yet been published, so I make no further comment at this point other than to thank my family and friends, Brentford FC and our fans for their continued support, through what has been a very difficult time.

“I now focus on returning to play the game I love next season,” he added.

Gambling sponsorship

Brentford FC are reportedly searching for a new non-gambling front-of-shirt sponsor amid plans to terminate their current agreement with South African bookmaker Hollywoodbets.

In April, the Premier League voted to ban gambling logos from the front of jerseys from the end of the 2026/27 season.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Brentford manager Thomas Frank highlighted the irony of Toney facing consequences for participating in a leisure activity that soccer actively promotes.

“When Ivan runs out with the name of our sponsor on his shirt, it sends mixed signals to everyone that football allows betting companies,” he said.

“There should be some rules from the Government to prevent that. There is better gambling awareness now and safe gambling but there is much to be done.

“Perhaps if I reflect on what would be a perfect world, would I rather have less money and not have betting on the front of our shirts even if it means we don’t have as good players? Maybe.

He continued: “It is ultimately about results and money and you can never be perfect but you have to have the intention to have the right values and do the right thing.”

Brentford’s owner Matthew Benham also owns betting and data analytics firm Smartodds, but there are reportedly no commercial agreements in place between the company and the football club.

The Premier League has asked clubs to back a three-year plan to phase out gambling front-of-shirt sponsorships to prevent a government-imposed ban.

According to Sky News, the voluntary ban would come into effect at the start of the new season in August but would not affect existing deals, provided they run no longer than the 2024-25 campaign.

The 20 top-flight clubs have been given one week to decide on the plan. If at least 14 clubs vote in favour, the phase out would be adopted immediately.

The proposal sent to clubs yesterday (4 July) is widely seen as a preemptive move to avoid stricter rules. For example, shirt sleeve sponsorships by gambling companies may still be permitted under the voluntary action.

As part of the review of 2005 Gambling Act, the UK government is currently discussing whether football sponsorships should be prohibited, or at least regulated, under tighter restrictions.

Nine of the 20 Premier League teams were involved with betting companies last season.

Everton hit headlines in June after agreeing a front-of-shirt deal with

The club however faced a backlash after supporters disapproved of the partnership, but they are not the only Premier League club to have signed a gambling sponsorship ahead of the new campaign.

While the Premier League declined to comment to Sky News, it is understood the government will still make a final decision on the matter.

Meanwhile, the BBC has reported that a voluntary ban is being discussed between the Premier League and the government and could offer “a middle ground” for clubs which hope to avert any legislation on the much-debated topic.

Gambling front-of-shirt sponsorships are already banned in European markets including Italy and Spain.