Uproar Over Ipswich Town’s New Betting Sponsor

Ipswich Town Ian Milne.

Ipswich Town’s managing director Ian Milne has defended the club’s decision to partner with betting firm Magical Vegas. (Image: ITFC)

Ipswich Town’s board came under fire from fans recently after it announced a new three-and-a-half-year sponsorship deal with Magical Vegas.

Following a decade with the same shirt sponsor, the Suffolk-based football club decided it was time for a change.

Now, where the eponymous company name of club owner Marcus Evans once was will be the logo of Daub Alderney Ltd.’s online casino site, Magical Vegas.

Deal Brings New Look and More Money to the Club

Part of the Stride Gaming group, which is an AIM listed company, Daub Alderney Ltd operates 100 online brands, including casino sites and marketing channels. Under the terms of the £2 million deal, the Magical Vegas logo will adorn all first-team kits as well as adult replicas.

However, in line with FA and UKGC guidelines on advertising gambling to minors, the logo won’t be printed on to children’s shirts.

Following news of the club’s latest sponsor, fans took to social media to air their discontent. Among the complaints raised, a number of fans suggested that a deal with a betting company goes against the club’s family ethos.

“Have the club never heard of brand integrity! There would be a host of potential sponsors wanting in on sponsoring our shirts. The fact we have even gone down the betting company route, which could be banned in coming years like cigarettes and alcohol sponsors, is an odd, yet not surprising, move by Evans and the club,” Daniel Haden-Scott wrote on Facebook.

Announcement Stirs a Heated Debate

For other supporters, the mere presence of a logo on a shirt isn’t a major issue. Also adding some balance to the debate was Ipswich Town FC’s managing director, Ian Milne. As well as highlighting the financial benefits of the deal, Milne suggested that the club is simply joining a trend that’s become common across the industry.

“Commercially that seems to be the way these shirt sponsorships are going and we’ve joined up, so to speak,” Milne told reporters on January 11.

The relationship between betting companies and football clubs became a political point for Labour in 2017, with the party stating that it would outlaw sponsorship deals if it ever got back into power.

While pre-election pledges are often easier to say than implement, there is clearly a discussion to be had regarding the presence of betting companies in football and sport in general.

However, given that many of the leading events in Europe are now supported financially by the likes of William Hill, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes, a blanket ban may be difficult to get through parliament. 

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