AFC Bournemouth Ends Three-Year Deal with M88
AFC Bournemouth has ended a three-year deal with its shirt sponsor M88 after news emerged last week that the UK Gambling Commission has instigated a probe into the Asia-facing gambling operator.
The Premier League football club first announced its alliance with the gambling operator before the 2017/18 season.
Since then, M88’s logo has featured on the front of Bournemouth’s home, away, and third shirts as well as training wear. Last year, the football club and the online gambling company announced a one-year extension of the shirt sponsorship deal in a move that aimed to utilize the brand to bring football fans and bettors from Asia closer to the Cherries.
The deal was reportedly worth £5 million a year. It expired on May 31 and the football club chose not to prolong it until the end of the restructured 2019/20 season in England. Football is set to get back underway on June 17 after the global coronavirus pandemic halted global sports in mid-March.
Bournemouth said in a statement issued this past Friday that it could “confirm that its partnership with M88 will end on Sunday (May 31)” and that “the club will therefore complete the 2019/20 campaign in new training wear and playing kits.”
Actively Looking for New Sponsor
Bournemouth was quoted saying that they are “actively seeking” a new shirt sponsor for the remainder of the 2019/20 campaign.
And according to Daily Mail the football club could replace M88’s branding with a thank you message to frontline workers during the coronavirus emergency.
In its message confirming the end of its shirt sponsorship with M88, the football club thanked the gambling operator “for its support over the past three years.”
M88 is a subsidiary of gambling group Mansion, which also operates the MansionCasino, Casino.com, and Slots Heaven brands, among others.
Reports surfaced last week that the UK Gambling Commission has launched a probe into the operator. A spokesperson for the watchdog confirmed that an investigation into M88 and Mansion Europe’s activities was underway.
The Gambling Commission spokesperson explained that while the operating licenses held by the Mansion subsidiaries were not revoked, the regulator was probing “various aspects” of the “model and operations” of each of the two above-mentioned license holders.
Mansion Europe holds a remote betting and casino license that enables it to provide online sports betting and casino services in the UK with its MansionBet, Casino.com, and Slots Heaven brands. As for M88, it previously operated in the UK under a remote betting and casino license held by Vivaro Entertainment, but its website is now inactive in the country.
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