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8XBet pays Australian Football League for overseas promotion

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An offshore gambling company, previously found in breach of Australian law and subsequently withdrawn from the country, has reportedly paid the Australian Professional Leagues to promote its services overseas, as disclosed by The Guardian.

The Australian Professional Leagues have been digitally featuring advertisements for the gambling company 8XBet during international broadcasts of A-Leagues matches. These ads, digitally imposed, display the company’s logo in multiple locations, with up to 10 instances simultaneously visible during certain games.

However, it’s notable that these ads are not visible to fans within the stadium. They appear during matches involving clubs that have publicly stated their refusal to accept funding from gambling entities and have voiced concerns about the increasing prevalence of gambling-related advertisements during live sports events.

The commercial arrangement, facilitated by an agency, stipulates that the ads cannot be broadcast in Australia, New Zealand, the US, or the UK. 8XBet, known as an official wagering partner for English football powerhouse Manchester City, specifically targets the Asian market, where football and the Premier League enjoy significant popularity.

The revelation of these digitally inserted 8XBet ads, initially reported by the football magazine Josimar, has sparked criticism from gambling reform advocates. They accuse the A-Leagues of being disconnected from their fan base and allege that the league is compromising its integrity by aligning with gambling interests.

Australia’s Interactive Gambling Act prohibits offshore gambling companies from offering bets to individuals located within Australia and prohibits the promotion of their services in the country. However, there is no prohibition on Australian organizations promoting these services overseas.

In 2022, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) discovered that 8XBet had allowed Australian clients to engage in gambling activities despite lacking an Australian license. Subsequently, the company withdrew from the Australian market.

Responding to inquiries regarding the A-Leagues’ commercial arrangement with 8XBet, an ACMA spokesperson stated that it is currently “being considered in light of the applicable rules and circumstances.”

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