Caesars Entertainment Sells Las Vegas’ Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino for $516 Million

Caesars Entertainment Sells Las Vegas' Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino for $516 Million

Months after rumors led many to believe the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas would be sold, the property now has a new owner. Caesars Entertainment, one of the largest gambling operators in the world, has sold the iconic Vegas casino for $516.3 million.

Caesars announced the finalization of the deal in a press release on Monday. The buyer, a company which owns New York real estate business Imperial Companies, will continue leasing the property to Caesars for a minimum of two years.

What that means is the current Rio employees will continue to work like nothing has changed. They will remain employees of Caesars Entertainment, at least for the time being. After the lease is up, it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen with the facility and the current employees.

What Happens to the World Series of Poker?

When Caesars bought out Harrah’s Entertainment a decade ago, the casino giant took over ownership of the World Series of Poker, the biggest annual poker extravaganza which takes place in Las Vegas each summer.

The WSOP has called the Rio home since moving from Binion’s in 2005. Many poker players have long asked for Caesars to move the series elsewhere. Some claim the hotel is outdated and needs a major renovation of which Caesars hasn’t been willing to make happen.

But despite the poker player’s wishes, the WSOP isn’t moving, at least not yet. Since Caesars will continue operating the Rio under a lease, they will leave the WSOP put for another year. And, according to Caesars Entertainment’s VP of corporate communications, Seth Palansky, there’s a good chance it will stay at the Rio in 2021

What Happens to WSOP After 2021?

Assuming Caesars keeps the WSOP at the Rio in 2021, it’s unclear what will happen to the series in future years. It seems highly unlikely the WSOP will remain at the Rio beyond 2021, however.

There is little, if any, chance the World Series of Poker will ever leave Las Vegas. And it’s equally unlikely Caesars would ever sell the series given that it is a cash cow.

So, that means Caesars will need to find a new home for the annual poker extravaganza. One rumored option is that it will move to the new Caesars Convention Center, which will be located on the Strip at the Linq entertainment district.

The building is certainly large enough to house the series which attracts thousands of players and fans daily during the summer. But it could cause a logistical nightmare on the Strip with parking issues, foot traffic, and road traffic.

The Las Vegas Strip is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Thousands of people visit the Strip daily already. Moving the WSOP to the Strip could cause some problems.

At present time, there doesn’t appear to be any other viable options in Las Vegas for the WSOP. But that could all change in a couple of years if Caesars opens a new facility elsewhere.

What is Next for the Rio?

The Rio is more than just a home to the World Series of Poker. The property also features many restaurants, table games, slots, a pool, a sportsbook, and thousands of hotel rooms. Each room at the Rio is a suite, one of the property’s main selling points to tourists.

But there’s no denying the old property needs a renovation, as many within the poker community have stated. The question now remains, will the new owners put in potentially $1 billion to fully renovate the hotel?

If not, we’d be surprised if the building isn’t eventually demolished and the property used for other purposes. Rumors began swirling a few months back that the Rio would be demolished and then a Major League Baseball stadium would be built on site. But that seems highly unlikely given MLB doesn’t have any plans for an expansion team.

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Is California’s gambling war the priciest campaign in US history? You bet | California

The campaign that could bring legalized sports betting to California is the most expensive ballot-initiative fight in US history, costing $400m and counting, and pitting wealthy Indigenous tribes against online gambling companies over a potentially multibillion-dollar marketplace.

Californians have been bombarded with advertising for months, much of it making promises far beyond a plump payoff from a game wager. Some ads coming from the consortium of gambling companies barely mention online betting.

Instead, the ads tease a cornucopia of benefits from new revenues – helping unhoused people, aiding people with mental illness and providing financial security for poorer nations that haven’t seen a windfall from casino gambling. Further clouding the issue: there are two sports betting questions on the ballot.

The skeptics include the state’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, who has not taken a position on either proposal but has said Proposition 27 “is not a homeless initiative” despite the claims in advertising.

Jack Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College, said “something for nothing” promises had been used in the past to sell state lotteries as a boundless source for education funding. It was political salesmanship, “not a cure-all”, he said.

With the stakes high, over $400m has been raised so far – easily a national record for a ballot initiative fight, and nearly doubling the previous mark in California set in 2020 – with another seven weeks to go until balloting ends on 8 November.

“They are spending hundreds of millions because billions are on the line,” said the longtime Democratic consultant Steven Maviglio, referring to potential future profits from expanded gambling in the state of nearly 40 million people.

“Both sides stand to really get rich for the long term,” said Maviglio, who is not involved in the campaign. It could become “a permanent funding source for a handful of companies – or a handful of tribes”.

All of it could be a bad bet.

With the midterm elections approaching, voters are in a foul mood and cynical about political sales pitches. And with two similar proposals on the ballot, history suggests that voters are inclined to be confused and grab the “no” lever on both.

“When in doubt, people vote no,” Pitney said.

Competing measure paint a muddled picture

In California, gambling now is permitted on horse races, at casinos run by Indigenous nations, in cardrooms and through the state lottery. But the state has been something of a laggard in sports betting, which has been spreading across the country.

The two proposals would open the way for sports betting, but in strikingly different ways.

A casino in Rohnert Park, California
A casino in Rohnert Park, California. The campaign that could bring legalized sports betting to the state has opened up a battle over what could become the country’s most lucrative marketplace. Photograph: Eric Risberg/AP

Proposition 27 is backed by DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel – the latter is the official odds provider for the Associated Press – and other national sports betting operators. The proposal would change state law to allow online sports betting for adults over the internet and on phones or other mobile devices.

Multi-state operators would be required to partner with a nation involved in gambling, or licensed nations could enter on their own. However, the nations argue they would have to surrender some of their independence to enter the deal. A tax would cover regulatory costs, with the bulk of the remainder earmarked for homelessness programs, and a slice going to nations not involved in online betting.

A rival proposal backed by many nations, Proposition 26, would let people wager on sporting events in person at retail locations – casinos operated by tribes and the state’s four licensed horse racing tracks. A portion of a 10% tax would help pay for enforcement of gambling laws and programs to help people who have a gambling addiction. It also could open the way for roulette and dice games at tribal casinos.

A handful of political committees are in the center of the fight, raising funds and dueling for public support.

The Yes on 26, No on 27 committee, sponsored by more than two dozen Indigenous nations, has raised about $108m through this month, state records show. Among the major donors: Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria ($30m), the Pechanga Band of Indians ($25m) and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation ($20m). All have been enriched by their own casinos.

Another committee seeking to defeat Proposition 27 is backed by nations including the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and has pulled in about $91m.

Their main rival, the Yes on 27 committee backed by sports betting companies, has generated about $169m in loans and donations.

A committee opposing Proposition 26, backed by card clubs, has piled up over $41m for the fight. The proposition includes changes in enforcement that the clubs see as an attempt to give tribes a virtual monopoly on all gaming in the state.

Despite the lofty claims about new income for the state, it’s not clear what the fiscal benefits might be with either proposal.

A muddle of political endorsements are in the mix, and voters are witnessing a deluge of competing claims.

The No on 26 committee says wealthy tribes are looking to game the system to gain unprecedented gambling income and political influence.

Rob Stutzman, a spokesman for the No on 27 committee, warned that up to 90% of the profits from the proposal could go to the gambling companies and “you know a measure is bad news when both the Democratic and Republican parties oppose it.”

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UKGC Posted Participation Survey Results

UKGC Posted Participation Survey Results

The United Kingdom’s Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published its quarterly statistics about participation in gambling. Each quarter, the regulator probes the state of British gambling and problem gambling rates by contacting a number of people on the phone.

A Probe Into UK Gambling

This quarter’s telephone survey saw the UKGC question 4,018 people aged 16 and over. Thanks to this, the regulator learned that overall participation in gambling remains roughly the same as it was during the same period last year. According to the survey, 44% of respondents participated in games of chance in September.

The UKGC also found that in-person gambling continues to rise. The research shows that 27% of the respondents played at a land-based casino or retail sportsbook. This number is still lower than the pre-COVID levels but shows that the sector is recovering from the effects of the pandemic.

Online gambling participation rates also went up to 27%, the survey demonstrated. This affirms that iGaming’s spike in popularity was not all thanks to the pandemic and continues the long-term growth trends.

Problem gambling remains at safe levels, the UKGC finally reported. According to the regulator, only 0.3% of the respondents were what can be called problem gamblers. Meanwhile, at-risk gamblers were also fairly few with moderate-risk gamblers and low-risk gamblers being 1.1% and 1.8% of the total number of respondents respectively. Concerningly, problem gambling increased dramatically among 16-24-year-olds to 1.4%.

How the Various Verticals Performed

The National Lottery remains the most popular online vertical in the United Kingdom with 16.1% having played in the past four weeks. The second most popular vertical was other lotteries with 8.4%, followed by sports betting at 3.9% and horse racing at 2.6%.

In-person results once again show an overwhelming prevalence of the National Lottery with a participation of 15.3%. Other in-person lottery operators were less successful than their online counterparts with a participation of 5.1%. Horse races ranked third with 1.7%, followed by bingo with 1.6% and sports betting with 1%.

The UKGC Reflected on the Results

The UKGC said that the effects of COVID-19 are still lingering and, as a result, overall gambling participation is still lower than the pre-pandemic levels. The virus disrupted the industry for two years and is still indirectly affecting British gambling.

The silver lining is that people are now starting to return to in-person gambling activities. The UKGC remarked that people are slowly returning to verticals such as bingo, horse racing and dog racing. However, the industry still has a way to go before returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Interestingly, the survey showed that young people (aged 16 to 24) are more likely to return to in-person gambling activities than their older counterparts. As a result, in-person participation among 16-24-year-olds is the closest to pre-pandemic rates. Lastly, the UKGC reflected on the growth of the iGaming sector. The regulator attributed the growth to the popularity of the National Lottery’s online offerings, online slots and instant win games.

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Anti-Online Gambling Lobbyist Sheldon Adelson Takes Heat Over Shady Venetian Poker Tournament

Anti-Online Gambling Lobbyist Sheldon Adelson Takes Heat Over Shady Venetian Poker Tournament

Sheldon Adelson doesn’t run the day-to-day operations of the Venetian Poker Room in Las Vegas. But since he is the CEO and founder of Sands Corporation, the company that owns the Strip casino, and because of his anti-online gambling crusade, he’s taking some heat from the gambling world over a controversial poker tournament.

Adelson, a staunch conservative political lobbyist, has fought long and hard to prevent Americans from being able to gamble legally online. He’s partially responsible for the limited online poker activity in the United States.

The casino mogul uses his wealth as a power tool to convince Republican politicians to support anti-online gambling legislation. He feels internet gambling is bad for his bottom line, which may seem a bit odd for a man worth an estimated $35 billion, according to Forbes Magazine.

What’s This Poker Tournament All About?

The Venetian Poker Room is hosting a $250 buy-in poker tournament with a $150,000 guaranteed prize pool beginning October 21. That might seem like a wonderful opportunity to win a large sum of cash for such a little buy-in. Most tournaments guaranteeing such a hefty prize pool cost more to enter.

There’s only one problem – the tournament has a maximum guarantee of $150,000. So, if the prize pool hits $300,000, which it very well might, the house rakes in the remaining balance.

This differs from most poker tournaments that offer guarantees. In most cases, if the total cost of the buy-ins exceeds the guarantee, money continues to be added to the prize pool.

In the case of the upcoming Venetian tournament, however, the casino will take in all of the additional money.

Why is This Such a Big Deal?

The Venetian isn’t breaking any laws or violating Nevada gambling regulations by hosting the aforementioned poker tournament. And it’s true that poker players aren’t being forced to play. If they don’t want any part of the tournament, they can opt to take their business elsewhere.

But as poker superstar Doug Polk said in a recent YouTube video, this tournament sets a bad precedent for the poker industry. If all goes well and the Venetian makes bank off this event, as Polk claims, it’s likely they’ll continue hosting similar tournaments. And possibly other casinos will see the blueprint and do the same.

As Polk said on YouTube, the Venetian will likely far exceed the guarantee. They know what they’re doing. Venetian has one of the top poker rooms in the world.

The controversial tournament has six Day One starting flights beginning October 21, one each day through October 25. If each session has just 100 entrants, Venetian will break even on the tournament. But given how popular their guaranteed tournaments are and how tempting this event is, the poker room will likely have 150 or more players per session, which means they’ll rake in $75,000 or more beyond the $150,000 guarantee.

Polk Calls for a Boycott

Doug Polk asked his followers to boycott the tournament in hopes of preventing the casino from having a successful event. But it’s unlikely his efforts will do much good.

Polk has a massive following with over 200,000 YouTube subscribers. But he mostly attracts hardcore poker fans. The controversial Venetian tournament is geared towards the recreational player, and many of those individuals don’t follow Poker Twitter or Polk’s YouTube channel.

It’s unlikely recreational players will realize what they’re getting into because the Venetian poker room only advertises the guarantee cap in the fine print. So, they’ll see nothing but a $150,000 guaranteed tournament for just $250 and think they’re getting great value.

What Does Sheldon Adelson Have to Do With Anything?

The odds of Sheldon Adelson even being aware of the questionable poker tournament are slim and none. He doesn’t participate in day-to-day operations of his poker room.

So, technically, he doesn’t have anything to do with this tournament. But that hasn’t stopped some within the poker community from using this as an opportunity to bash the Republican megadonor.

Adelson has fought to prevent Americans from gambling online for many years. He’s pushed anti-internet poker legislation at the federal level since the Black Friday scandal in 2011 which forced the top poker sites out of the US. And despite his age and wealth – he’s 86 – it appears he will continue this fight until the day he dies.

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Betfred fined almost £2.9m over gambling safety check failings | Gambling

The bookmaker Betfred has been fined nearly £2.9m for failings in its social responsibility and money-laundering controls, after accepting tens of thousands of pounds from gamblers without performing adequate safety checks.

One customer was allowed to lose £70,000 over a 10-hour period just a day after opening their account, the Gambling Commission said.

Another was only subjected to controls to ensure they were gambling safety after losing £10,000. The next interaction did not occur until four months later when the customer had deposited £323,715 and lost £69,371. The regulator also identified flaws in the company’s controls to prevent money laundering.

Betfred, which is owned by the billionaire Tory donor brothers Fred and Peter Done, will pay a £2.87m penalty. That is the equivalent to approximately two days of revenue for the company, which paid the brothers a £50m dividend last year.

The bookmaker will also receive an official warning from the Gambling Commission.

Leanne Oxley, the commission’s director of enforcement and intelligence, said: “This is a further example of us taking action to investigate and sanction alarming failures.

“We expect this gambling business and all other licensees to review this case and look closely to see if they need to make further improvements to demonstrate active compliance. Where standards do not improve, tougher enforcement will follow.”

The fine for Betfred, one of the UK’s most established high-street bookmakers, comes at a time when the industry is under scrutiny amid a government review of the gambling laws introduced by the Labour government in 2005.

Since the review was announced there has been a rush in the industry to demonstrate improved commitment to safer gambling, while several big operators have been penalised for licence transgressions.

Earlier this month, Betway was fined more than £400,000 after its marketing material was found on the children’s section of the West Ham United website.

In August, Entain, the Ladbrokes Coral owner, was told it could lose its licence after it was fined £17m for a string of failings related to its inaction as individual customers spent hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The gambling industry has so far resisted calls from campaigners to impose strict affordability checks to prevent people spending unsustainable sums, saying controls that were too intrusive would infringe upon civil liberties.

A Betfred spokesperson said: “We will work with the UK Gambling Commission and continually review all our anti-money laundering and social responsibility policies. During our assessment, the commission found no evidence of criminal activity. We remain committed to providing a safer gambling environment for our customers.”

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A Review of Quatro Casino

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GLI Boosts Customer Experience with Key Hire

GLI Boosts Customer Experience with Key Hire

Gambling industry testing and certification service provider Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) recently bolstered its executive team with a new high-profile appointment. Industry veteran Thorsten Toms will aid the company’s client solutions vertical, leveraging his past regulatory experience.

Toms Combines Technical Skills and Industry Knowledge

Toms should be a valuable addition to the Gaming Laboratories team. He has over a decade of industry experience, previously serving as the director of gaming administration for the Gun Lake Tribal Gaming Commission. In that position, he oversaw licensing, audit, and IT operations and gained a nuanced understanding of the regulatory process.

Another of Toms’ strengths lies in his extensive technical and automation knowledge, honed over nearly 20 years of work on various software projects. He also demonstrated a keen interest in the latest innovations, as showcased by his participation as a panelist during the 2022 GLI Regulators Seminar, discussing the benefits and risks of cryptocurrency and NFTs.

The unique combination of efficiency-focused technical expertise and an inside perspective on developing and conducting compliance audits related to sports betting and iGaming makes Toms a valuable addition to any company in the industry.

GLI Expressed Gratitude to Have Him on Board

GLI senior VP Kevin Mullally lauded Toms’ vast skills, expressing hopes that they would aid the company’s land-based and online offerings.

As a former regulator and longtime IT professional, (Toms’)… extensive industry knowledge and experience as a trainer will augment our talented lineup.

Kevin Mullally, senior VP of government relations and general counsel at GLI 

Kelly Myers, GLI client solutions team manager, also had only positive remarks for the new hire. She paid particular attention to Toms’ extensive expertise with the tribal regulatory community and stated that the company would leverage his substantial training experience.

He is highly skilled at clearly communicating technical information to a non-technical audience, and we are excited to have him join our diverse and talented team.

Kelly Myers, client solutions team manager at GLI

Thanks to Toms’ deep understanding of information technology and passion for system automation, he’ll be able to assist GLI’s worldwide client base and familiarize them with the company’s vast array of services.

This Appointment Is the Latest in a Series of Reshuffles

Toms’ appointment as client solutions executive is the latest in GLI’s recent hiring spree. In June, the testing and certification service provider attracted a duo of seasoned executives to bolster its client-facing operations. Just a month later, the company appointed a new manager of client services for the Asia-Pacific region, signaling a continued focus on improving customer experience.

September marked another high-profile hire, with Elizabeth Dorgan Bermeosolo becoming the new government relations and business development executive for the Spanish region. The spike in new appointments indicates GLI’s desire to cement its position as one of the world’s leading assessment services providers.

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The Stars Group Sold to FanDuel Owner for $6 Billion

The Stars Group Sold to FanDuel Owner for $6 Billion

The Stars Group, parent company of the top online poker site in the world – PokerStars – has been sold to Flutter Entertainment, the company which owns the popular FanDuel daily fantasy sports website.

This deal makes Flutter the world’s largest online gambling company. The Stars Group is one of the top brands in the industry and brings a portfolio of major sports betting, casino, and poker sites to its buyer. This is one of the largest acquisitions in internet gambling history. And it could have a major impact on the industry’s future.

What’s in the Deal?

The Stars Group has agreed to sell off its gambling sites to Flutter Entertainment, formerly Paddy Power Betfair, for around $12 billion. Flutter originally merged Paddy Power and Betfair, two popular sportsbooks, together.

But now the company has acquired The Stars Group, formerly Amaya Inc., and is officially the world’s largest online gambling business.

Flutter will keep its Chief Executive, Peter Jackson, in that same position as the company moves forward. Current Stars Group CEO, Rafi Ashkenazi, will assume the role of Chief Operating Officer. Many other Flutter executives will continue in their current positions.

The deal will become finalized when the shareholders vote during the second quarter of 2020.

What is Flutter Entertainment?

Flutter Entertainment was already one of the leading global internet gambling brands. The company, founded in 2016, is listed on the London Stock Exchange and brought in £180.7 million in net revenue last year.

Flutter merged former rivals Betfair and Paddy Power. Paddy Power shareholders own 52 percent of the company while Betfair shareholders own 48 percent.

Paddy Power, an online sportsbook, famously paid $1.1 in winnings to those who bet on Hillary Clinton to win the 2016 US presidential election two weeks prior to the election. The company figured Clinton was a lock to defeat Donald Trump, the Republican nominee. So, the sportsbook, in search of some positive publicity, paid Hillary bettors early.

But a funny thing happened on Election Day. Trump, a real estate investor and reality TV star, shocked the world and defeated his arch nemesis, Hillary Clinton. So, Paddy Power was on the hook for paying off both sides.

Flutter, previously Paddy Power Betfair, scored another major acquisition in 2018 when it purchased 61 percent of FanDuel, a major US-facing daily fantasy sports website for $158 million.

What Does The Stars Group Brings to the Table?

The Stars Group, formerly Amaya Inc. and Rational Group, is another major player in the online gambling world. The company originally was known exclusively for its poker site – PokerStars. But due to poker’s limited niche, the business expanded and began offering additional forms of gambling a few years ago.

The Stars Group is a Canadian gaming company on the Toronto Stock Exchange, and is headquartered in Toronto. More than 4,500 employees work for The Stars Group.

PokerStars’ poker site remains the company’s biggest asset. But poker players accessing the site also can wager on sports and casino games such as blackjack and slots. Additionally, The Stars Group has controlled Sky Betting after purchasing it for $4.7 billion in 2018.

PokerStars has a long history with the poker world and is the world’s largest online poker site. It previously operated in the United States but was banned by the Department of Justice in April 2011. The poker giant was approved for a license only in New Jersey in 2016 and hopes to move into additional states in the future.

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Revealed: Football League clubs taking cut of gamblers’ losses with SkyBet | Soccer

English football clubs have been taking a cut of the money fans lose with the bookmaker SkyBet, the Guardian can reveal, prompting accusations that they are exploiting supporters and gambling addicts.

An internal document shows that members of the Football League (EFL), comprising the 72 clubs outside the Premier League, operated as “affiliates” for SkyBet. An affiliate is a middleman who encourages a gambler to bet with a particular company, which then pays them a percentage of the money that person goes on to lose, sometimes for the rest of their life.

The document states clubs were entitled to a “share of losses […] from accounts registered in your club name to Sky Bet through our affiliate partnership”.

The EFL said the arrangement, which lasted six years, was scrapped at the start of the 2019-20 season but admitted some clubs were still receiving funds under the “legacy” contracts and would continue cashing in until the end of the 2023‑24 season.

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The Guardian understands that one League Two club made £5,000 from the deal in a year, indicating potentially much larger sums for the best‑supported Championship teams.

Campaigners and MPs condemned the relationship, called on Premier League clubs to reveal whether they have any similar deals and said the revelation should give fresh impetus to government plans to reform gambling laws.

Whitehall sources have suggested a draft white paper outlining potential reforms, put together under Boris Johnson’s leadership, could fall victim to a bonfire of regulations under the new prime minister Liz Truss. But the shadow minister for sport, Alex Davies-Jones, said the plans should not be scrapped, warning that evidence of affiliate deals “raises some serious questions about the government’s approach to gambling”.

“Despite promising much-needed reform, the government have failed to bring forward their white paper and it is people across the country who continue to be impacted,” she said. “We have an analogue approach to regulation but we live in a digital world and the government can and must do more.”

The Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith, who has been trying to ensure the white paper is not ditched, described the arrangements uncovered by the Guardian as “terrible”. He said: “That a football club might benefit from this runs against all that they are supposed to stand for – support for their fans, for the people who go to the ground.”

SkyBet, part of the Flutter gambling empire, has sponsored the EFL for 10 seasons. Sources in the gambling world have previously alleged that clubs have affiliate deals with bookmakers, but this is thought to be the first time that hard evidence of such an arrangement has come to light.

The Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who co-chairs a cross-party parliamentary group examining gambling‑related harm, said: “This appears to be proof that football clubs are exploiting their own fans, some of whom will be gambling addicts, by taking a cut of every penny they lose to greedy bookmakers. The government must now step in to loosen the hold that the gambling industry has on the national game.”

A walk organised by The Big Step to demand gambling reform, outside Everton’s Goodison Park this summer.
A walk organised by The Big Step to demand gambling reform, outside Everton’s Goodison Park this summer. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Harris said Premier League teams should now “come clean” about whether they too have affiliate deals.

The Guardian has written previously to every Premier League club, as well as some in the Championship and Scottish Premiership, to ask whether they operate an affiliate arrangement with any gambling companies. Crystal Palace, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United said that they did not; the remaining clubs declined to comment or did not respond.

The document seen by the Guardian appears to be an account of commercial revenues made by Accrington Stanley through EFL Digital, a division of the EFL.

It shows that the club made no revenue from acting as a betting affiliate during the fourth quarter of the 2021-22 financial year. The owner, Andy Holt, said gambling addiction was a “disaster area for society” and that he only became aware of the EFL’s affiliate arrangement this week.

James Grimes, who campaigns for an end to gambling sponsorship in football via his group The Big Step, said evidence of affiliate deals in football was “a gamechanger in the fight to end gambling sponsorship in football. No one should accept that this is normal or safe.”

An EFL spokesperson said: “When the EFL and SkyBet renewed its longstanding partnership for the 2019-20 season, we placed a greater focus on putting safer gambling at the heart of the agreement. As a result, the previous affiliate scheme was discontinued.

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“While some clubs do receive revenue from legacy sign‑ups that occurred prior to the new agreement, the affiliate scheme in place was phased out and all sign‑up links via EFL Digital channels have been removed.”

SkyBet said its partnership with the EFL was modified in 2019-20 “with a clear focus on safer gambling and engaging fans responsibly”, adding: “We are committed to safer gambling – for instance becoming the first operator to introduce strict limits on under 25s – and are supportive of evidence-led measures being introduced as part of the upcoming gambling act review.”

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