Review: Sport, Gambling and Sponsorship ConferenceAlfonso Valero
From invitation of World Sports Law Report (WSLR), Alfonso Valero, Co-Editor of Lawinsport.com attended this year’s ‘Sport, Gambling and Sponsorship’, organised by World Online Gambling Law Report. The conference, in its 3rd Edition, was hosted by Berwin Leighton Paisner and conducted by Andy Brown, of WSLR.
In the current climate of courses and events related to sports law, this Conference is a ‘must do’ for various reasons: first, it’s the only one which provides a general update of the regulations affecting the gambling and betting sector; sec
ond the speakers are first class; and third, it puts together operators of the industry, practitioners and other commercial interests giving an excellent networking opportunity.
The seminar started with an introduction by Andy Brown, who gave a general presentation of the situation with an update of recent deals of betting companies sponsoring sport. Andy also mentioned corruption and how its exposure is helping sport.
The first speaker was Gareth Moore, of Sport+Mark, explaining the financial relationship between sport and gambling across Europe; opportunities for sponsorship, money into gambling coming from sport bets. It was of great interest, and clearly shows the need of a more homogeneous regulation across the EU.
It was followed by Stephen Ketteley, partner of Berwin Leighton Paisner. It was a very well presented talk about sponsorship and advertising for gambling and betting companies. Opening with ECJ case of ‘Santa Casa v. Bwin / La Liga’ – which implied that betting companies could have a vested interest in the results when it accepts bets on the teams that it sponsors, covering the recent changes in regulation and the possible future.
Next speaker was Jim Tabilio of Secured American Games, who gave an insight about the best strategy for a change in legislation to allow betting in the US. For those gambling companies aiming to expand in America, and there are quite a few operating ‘under the radar’ already, it was probably an eye opener. America, Tabilio said, won’t be persuaded by what happens in Europe: they need American faces.
The mid morning brought a change of topic and moved to corruption in sport in relation to gambling.
David O’Reilly, of Betfair, and Simon Taylor, of the Professionals Players Association spoke about the need for education of players and how the betting industry is helping to tackle corruption in sport. Simon Tayor called for a ‘WADA’ to deal with corruption, as there is a need for unified approach in prevention and sanctions.
Nick Tofiluk, of the Gambling Commission, made the most of a talk with obvious limitations, as he couldn’t go in details on any cases or the methods of investigation. He covered the work of the Sports Betting Intelligence Unit, which collects information and develops intelligence about potentially corrupt betting activity involving sport.
Speaking about integrity, Matthew Johnson, of the FA and Simon Barker, of the Professional Players’ Federation, were put together to present both sides of the conflict. Matthew Johnson, presented the approach of the Football Association with regards to player gambling. One of the best presentations of the day, it covered a number of resources for their integrity proceedings. Simon Barker, insisted in the need of education of the player and the existence of gambling addiction amongst players.
All of the above, just before lunch. And, at all times, the time keeping was spot on. The lunch was excellent. You couldn’t sit down, but that probably kept people talking to each other more easily.
The first slot of the afternoon was to cover IP rights by the betting industry.
The first two speakers were Gavin Llewellyn and Ania Ochmanska of Berwin Leighton Paisner. They looked at the very topical issue of the intellectual property in the fixtures list and other exploitation of information by the betting industry. Whilst a very interesting presentation, I got the impression that they were presenting for non lawyers, as it was perhaps a bit academic. Having said that, Llewellyn and Ochmanska fought the ‘after lunch syndrome’ with a very dynamic delivery.
Gianluca Monte, of the European Commission, dealt with the current framework of the EU on protection and use of IP. Autumn of 2010 and 2011 will see the production of reports and studies on the impact of the current regulations (i.e. Lisbon Treaty and others), the Green Paper on online gambling, and the next European Sport Forum.
Finally, the last two sessions of the afternoon were about specific cases of the industry: horseracing, by Nic Coward, of British Horseracing Authority, and Luca Ferrari, of CBA Studio Legale e Tributario. In reality, Luca Ferrari had been scheduled for the morning, with the section about sponsorship, but it was placed in the afternoon, but it also gave the opportunity of ending the day looking at two different situations: football in Italy and horseracing in Britain.
Nic Coward made his case about the need of financing horseracing with the Horserace Betting Levy or any other system which contributes financially to the sport by those who benefit from most of it, the betting industry. Nic Coward has been lobbying on behalf of BHA for many years now. His points are fairly clear and, whether one agrees or disagrees with him, no one is left indifferent. It was shown when, in the questions, the representative of William Hill begged to differ with Coward’s points. Like in the good matches, a very interesting debate had place in ‘injury time’.
Luca Ferrari explained the regulation of Italian Law about gambling and betting and, most importantly, the sponsorship by Bwin, of the second division of the Italian League.
The materials provided were very complete and I left the day looking forward to next year’s event.
Co-Editor of Lawinsport.com
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About the Author
Alfonso Valero is co-founder and now consultant of LawInSport.com. He is a dually qualified Abogado (Spanish Lawyer) and Solicitor (England and Wales). He is also a qualified International Arbitrator. He is a Principal Lecturer in Nottingham Trent University.
After beginning his career dealing with dispute resolution in Madrid, he relocated to England developing his work as lawyer in the areas of EU cross-border litigation and Sports Law in Nockolds Solicitors. He has been listed in Global Chambers 2012 as an specialist in Dispute Resolution and Intellectual Property and Marquis Who's Who in the World.