English FA to review TV deal after Bet365 restricts viewing to those with a bet placed

January 9 – English football authorities have agreed to review their decision to allow broadcast rights for FA Cup games to be sold for streaming by betting companies after critics warned the arrangement could encourage gambling.

Online betting platforms are currently the only way to watch some FA Cup games in Britain despite the FA announcing two years ago that it would end partnerships with gambling firms.

Since the start of last season, bookmaker Bet365 has had rights to show FA Cup ties on its website and app. The matches are available to anyone who had placed a bet or put a deposit in their account in the 24 hours before kick-off.

The FA’s contract is not directly with Bet365 company. The governing body has a media rights agreement with IMG, which then sells the rights under terms agreed in 2017 that allow deals with betting firms.

But the issue has become especially sensitive since the Football Association used last weekend’s third round games to promote the importance of dealing with mental health. All matches started a minute late as part of the FA’s Heads Up mental health campaign.

“This deal was agreed before we made a clear decision on the FA’s relationship with gambling companies in June 2017 when we ended our partnership with Ladbrokes,” the FA said in a statement before adding: “We will review this element of the media rights sales process ahead of tendering rights from the 2024-25 season.”

Bet365 last weekend showed 23 FA Cup third-round games on its website and app but in a statement to the BBC commented: “Bet365 does not sponsor the FA or the FA Cup and does not have any direct commercial agreement with the FA.”

“Bet365, along with multiple other operators, has the right to live stream certain FA Cup matches through a long standing media rights deal with IMG. There is no obligation on Bet365’s customers to place a bet on any FA Cup match to enjoy the live streams at Bet365.”

“Bet365 believes that these streaming services provide added value to its customers and enable them to watch FA Cup matches that they might not otherwise have been able to see.”

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