December 06, 2018

Gambling firms agree 'whistle-to-whistle' television sport advertising ban

The Remote Gambling Association (RGA), which includes Bet365, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power, has struck a deal to stop adverts during live sports broadcasts.

It follows political pressure about the amount of betting advertising on TV.

More than 90 minutes of adverts were shown during the football World Cup and anti-gambling campaigners say sport's use of adverts "normalises" betting.

There are also fears it contributes to the rise in the amount of problem gamblers - with a Gambling Commission report suggesting 430,000 Britons can be described as such - and helps fuel under-age gambling.

The deal follows extensive talks between firms - also including SkyBet, Betfred, Betfair, Stan James, Gala Coral and William Hill - to ensure no adverts will be broadcast for a defined period before and after a game is broadcast.

The proposal is similar to those made by the Labour party and, importantly, will include any game that starts prior to the 9pm watershed but ends after that time.

The RGA has previously said it was "very mindful of public concerns".

Horse racing will be exempt from the restrictions - given the commercial importance of gambling on its viability - but all other sports will be included.

However, it is the impact on football where the ban will be felt the most, especially given the financial value of the sport to both the gambling companies and broadcasters.

Nearly 60% of clubs in England's top two divisions have gambling companies as shirt sponsors.

Final ratification is needed from the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) before the ban comes into force.

That should be a formality, according to industry insiders, and could come as early as this month or in early 2019.

On Thursday, the RGA said: "The Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising is reviewed annually, and several options are currently being considered as the basis for possible enhancements in 2019.

"However, nothing has yet been finalised."

Tom Watson MP, Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said he was "delighted" by the move as the number of adverts during live sports had "clearly reached crisis levels".

He added: "There was clear public support for these restrictions and I'm glad that the Remote Gambling Association has taken its responsibilities seriously and listened."

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright MP, said it was a "welcome move".

"Gambling firms banning advertising on TV during live sport is a welcome move and I am pleased that the sector is stepping up and responding to public concerns," he said.

"It is vital children and vulnerable people are protected from the threat of gambling related harm. Companies must be socially responsible."

Sarah Hanratty, chief executive of the Senet Group - the industry's responsible gambling body, funded by the four largest UK gambling companies - said: "It has been clear for some time now that the volume and density of advertising and sponsorship messaging from gambling companies around live sport has become unsustainable.

"This is a welcome move from the leading industry operators who are taking the initiative to respond to public concern."

Could shirt sponsorship be next?
Matt Zarb-Cousin is a spokesperson for Fairer Gambling, a not-for-profit entity campaigning to reduce gambling-related harm and crime.

It is long overdue, there has been a huge amount of pressure on the sector over the volume of advertising which has increased exponentially year on year.

But for it to be truly effective, it should also include shirt and league sponsorship and digital advertising around a pitch.

It is better that there are going to be no ads during live sporting events but that falls some way short of being effective. If the whistle-to-whistle TV advertising ban is justified then the other things are as well.

I think it is worth bearing in mind that it is the broadcasters that have been most resistant to the clampdown on advertising.

I think the writing is on the wall. If they hadn't done this, the government would have acted anyway, perhaps next year.

There is no legislation in the pipeline but the strength of feeling cross-party and in both houses suggests that it is unsustainable.

Will it make a difference?
Marc Etches is the chief executive of GambleAware, a leading charity committed to minimising gambling-related harm.

We have been saying for a long time now that gambling is being increasingly normalised for children. They are growing up in a very different world than their parents, one where technology and the internet are ever present.

So while we welcome this move by betting companies, it is important to pay attention to analysis that shows the marketing spend online is five times the amount spent on television.

The fact that it is reported that one in eight 11 to 16 year olds are following gambling companies on social media is very concerning.

December 05, 2018

Green Light for Japan Casinos Offers Jackpot to Businesses

Let the competition begin.

Now that Japan has passed a law outlining a road map for casino resorts, foreign operators from Las Vegas Sands Corp. to MGM Resorts International can start to seek out partners in their bid to tap a gaming market that may be worth as much as $25 billion. It could also be a boon for Japanese industries - from companies that oversee a resort project to construction giants building infrastructure.

There is still a long road ahead, but talks between Japanese companies and Western operators will become more serious now that the government has given the green light. Local municipalities will eventually start requesting proposals from consortium groups that want to pitch their plans.

“This business becomes a legitimate viable business after the bill passes,” said Masaru Sugiyama, an analyst at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. “Companies that weren’t willing to come public with their aspirations - we’ll see them be more active with press releases, briefings, blue prints coming out for what kind of projects they want to do and where, and who they want to partner with.”

November 30, 2018

First sports betting integrity group launched in United States

U.S. sportsbook operators on Tuesday announced the formation of a new national non-profit organization to help monitor integrity and fight fraud as the country’s new sports wagering market expands.

The group, called the Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association, or SWIMA, will partner with state and tribal gaming regulators, law enforcement and other stakeholders.

It is the first such group in the United States and aims to ensure “a safe and secure betting environment for consumers across the country,” SWIMA Chief Integrity Officer George Rover, a former New Jersey assistant attorney general and gaming regulator, said in a statement.

The association is taking shape as more and more states are legalizing, regulating and taxing sports betting after the U.S. Supreme Court in May overturned a 1992 law that had barred it in most places outside of Nevada.

Sportsbooks, leagues and regulators already do their own fraud monitoring, looking for odd betting patterns, abnormalities, insider activity and other suspicious data.

The new group will let member sportsbook operators from any state submit information about suspicious wagers to a central hub and alert regulators in many states, not just their own.

“The key is to ensure that sportsbook operators are able to connect,” Rover told Reuters in an interview.

He said SWIMA expects to be operational within 90 days.

The group received help from and is modeled after ESSA, a sports betting integrity group in Europe with which SWIMA will also share information to identify potential fraud that could have a global reach.

On it board of trustees are Stephen Martino, MGM Resorts International’s chief compliance officer and a former state regulator in Maryland and Kansas, and former Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones, now Caesars Entertainment Corp’s executive vice president of public policy and corporate responsibility.

So far, member operators, or companies with affiliated licensees, include MGM, Caesars, William Hill PLC, DraftKings and FanDuel Group, a unit of Paddy Power Betfair PLC.

Lotteriinspektionen publishes first licences for re-regulated Swedish market

Swedish gambling regulator – Lotteriinspektionen has this morning announced its first sixteen approved operators, which will be allowed to service Sweden’s re-regulated online gambling marketplace from 1 January 2019.

As anticipated, established Stockholm-listed enterprises’ Kindred Group Plc, Betsson AB and LeoVegas AB feature on Lotteriinspektionen approved list.

In a statement released this morning, Kindred Group confirmed that it had secured approval to operate the following domains; unibet.se, mariacasino.se, storspelare.se, bingo.se, igame.se

“Today is a historic day for Kindred. We have been pushing for a modern and sustainable gambling market in Sweden from the very start of Unibet in 1997, in which the focus is on consumer protection and harm minimisation”, commented Henrik Tjärnström, Group CEO of Kindred Plc

Meanwhile, Stockholm incumbent Betsson AB has moved to confirm that it will operate three brands, consisting of flagship Betsson and NordicBet (Sportsbook) and SverigeAutomaten (slots) establishing its new home market profile.

“It is good that Sweden opens up the gaming market for free competition in a controlled environment. We look forward to operating on our Swedish home market as a recognised operator on equal terms,” added Betsson CEO Pontus Lindwall.

State-owned gambling asset – Svenska Spel has been approved services for betting, lotteries and online casino is accompanied by national racing firm AB TRAV operating its atg.se domain.

European incumbents are represented by German bookmaker Interwetten Sports, alongside GVC Holdings’ bwin and partygaming (poker + bingo) domains securing licenses.

In addition, the first set of licensee instalments, feature a UK presence with leading online bookmaker bet365 securing its Lotteriinspektionen approval from sportsbook and gaming, joined by Sunderland online gaming group Tombola (bingo/games).

This November, Lotteriinspektionen executives provided a public stakeholder update, detailing the changes the regulatory body expects to undertake once Sweden’s re-regulated gambling framework is established.

Changes for Lotteriinspektionen include a rebrand to Spelinspektionen (translation – ‘The Gambling Inspectorate’), with the regulator expecting to increase its resources and capacities significantly.

“This is a historic day. I am very proud that the Lotteriinspektionen’s staff under severe pressure, with a whole new legislation, worked out the first license decisions,” said Camilla Rosenberg, director general of the Lotteriinspektionen.

November 28, 2018

Major League Baseball picks MGM for betting partner

As the post-PASPA land-grab continues, Major League Baseball has become the third and latest US professional sports league to team up with MGM Resorts in a wide-ranging sports betting partnership.

The multi-year deal casts MGM Resorts as the first Official Gaming Partner of MLB and the Official Entertainment Partner of MLB.

The agreement combines the MLB with MGM Resorts and playMGM brands across league and team sponsorships, data usage in gaming, promotion across MLB media platforms and domestic and international activations at MLB events.

The deal with MLB follows similar betting partnerships between MGM and the NBA and NHL leagues; sealed in July and October respectively.

“We are pleased to partner with MGM Resorts International, a clear industry leader in the sports gaming area, to work together on bringing innovative experiences to baseball fans and MGM customers,” said baseball commissioner Robert D Manfred Jr.

“Our partnership with MGM will help us navigate this evolving space responsibly, and we look forward to the fan engagement opportunities ahead.”

MGM Resorts chairman and CEO Jim Murren added: “We are excited to enter into this historic partnership with MLB. We are thrilled to create a new one-of-a-kind fan experience for baseball fans.

“Combining MGM Resorts’ world class entertainment and technology with MLB data will continue to transform a rapidly changing industry. This partnership further amplifies the significance of our GVC joint venture, firmly establishing MGM Resorts and playMGM as the market leader in partnerships with major professional sports leagues.”

MLB intellectual property will appear in MGM advertising and promotional campaigns. MGM also will secure multiple MLB Club partnerships, will have a presence at MLB Jewel Events, including the All-Star Game and World Series.

In the US, MGM Resorts will promote the MLB brand and gaming options on MLB’s digital and broadcast platforms, including MLB Network, MLB.com and the MLB At Bat app.

MGM Resorts will also be identified as an MLB-Authorised Gaming Operator and utilise MLB’s official statistics feed, on a non-exclusive basis, across its digital and live domestic sports gaming options.

In Japan, MGM Resorts will be an official partner at grassroots baseball events like the MLB Road Show.

November 22, 2018

Report on Youth Gambling by UKGC Paints an Inaccurate Picture

According to a new report published by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), children in the country are gambling more than they used to. However, experts believe that the findings are mildly exaggerated.

Earlier this week, the UKGC came out with the Young People and Gambling 2018 Report, which claimed that around 14% (450,000 individuals) of children aged 11 to 16 spent their money on gambling activity, just a week prior to taking part in the survey.

The reported figure is 2% higher than what was reported in 2017. However, the UKGC itself stated that the number was very low when historical standards were taken into consideration. For instance, in 2011, it was found that 23% of youth in the UK indulged in gambling.

Similarly, the new study also pointed out that 1.7% of the surveyed youths were problem gamblers, an increase of 0.9% compared to 2017, and that 2.2% were at risk of becoming problem gamblers, up from 1.3% in 2017.

However, it must be considered that a larger number of respondents had taken part in the survey this year, which allowed the UKGC to acquire a more accurate picture.

As for children who spent money gambling in the week prior to the survey, 39% had spent £2 or less, while 29% spent £10 or less. An estimated 15% stated that they have spent over £50, which placed the weekly average at £16.

However, spending, in this context, does not necessarily equate to losses. The consideration of potential winnings was left to the respondents’ interpretation.

According to those who reported gambling last week, 6% engaged in private bets with friends, 4% engaged in purchasing National Lottery scratch cards, 3% used fruit machines at pubs/arcades, and another 3% reported playing cards (for cash) with friends.

Only a mere 1% reported that they participated in real money gambling, online or otherwise.

Minors are prohibited from accessing fruit machines at pubs/arcades. However, older reports indicate that some pubs/arcades were failing to enforce the rules. Though the maximum stake permitted is £1, the UKGC warned that not all pubs/arcades were adhering to this.

The statistics for online gambling participation among youth fell by a point to 6% in the last 12 months. It has been reported that 2/3rds of participants had engaged in online gambling with their parents’ permission.

In conclusion, the UKGC seems to have gone overboard with its goal to protect children from gambling. However, if the above statement is to be believed, the onus is not to be placed exclusively on the operators – parents/guardians have a role to play as well.

Bet365 founder paid herself an 'obscene' £265m in 2017

Denise Coates, the multibillionaire founder and boss of the gambling firm Bet365, paid herself £265m last year in a record-breaking pay deal for the chief executive of a British company.

The huge pay package, which equates to nearly £726,000 a day, dwarfs the previous UK record set by Coates when she collected £217m a year earlier.

Coates was paid a base salary of £220,004,000 in the year to March 2018, accounts filed at Companies House on Wednesday reveal. On top of this, she collected dividend payments of £45m from her more than 50% shareholding in the Stoke-based company.

Her pay is more than 9,500 times the average UK salary, 1,700 times that collected by the prime minister and more than double that paid to the entire Stoke City football team, which Bet365 owns and which was relegated from the Premier League last season. Coates’s pay is also 27 times that earned by Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, the world’s most valuable company.

Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said Coates’ “eye-watering pay package” was “irresponsible and excessive”.

“In any circumstance it is hard to justify, but more so given the money comes from people struggling with compulsive gambling,” Cable said. “This is an industry body needing tighter regulation. We have started high-stake gaming machines. We now need to move into online gambling, and curbing the advertising around it.”

Luke Hildyard, a director of the High Pay Centre, said: “Why does someone who is already a billionaire need to take such an obscene amount of money out of their company? It is difficult to find a reason beyond pure greed.

“A payment of this size would be impossible to justify for someone whose business was in unquestionably life-enhancing products or services. It is doubly offensive when awarded to a betting company CEO at a time when problem gambling is spiralling out of control.”

Coates, who started out as a cashier marking up results in betting shops owned by her father before taking control and turning it into one of the world’s largest gambling groups, did not comment on the size of her pay. She told shareholders: “Increased remuneration for individuals [has] been key to the development of the overarching corporate strategy that has successfully driven the group forward.”

In Bet365’s accounts, she said: “I am pleased to report that the group continued to experience significant growth during the period, with overall revenue and operating profit increasing year-on-year by 25% to £2.9bn and 31% to £660m, respectively.”

Even before the bumper pay day, Coates and her family were listed as the 21st richest in Britain with a £5.8bn fortune – more than Sir Richard Branson with £4.5bn or easyJet’s Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou with £3bn.

Coates, 51, who keeps herself out of the public eye and very rarely gives media interviews, owns just over 50% of the company. With the rest of her family – including her brother John (co-chief executive), husband Richard Smith (a Stoke City director) and father (chair of Stoke City) – she controls 93% of Bet365.

The total pay to Bet365’s directors and “key management personnel” was £449m, up from £322m a year earlier. Salaries are high across the board at Bet 365, with its 4,030 employees sharing £648m, which works out at £161,000 each if shared equally.

After graduating with a first-class degree in econometrics – the application of statistical methods to economic data – from Sheffield University, Coates expanded the family’s Provincial Racing shops chain to nearly 50 betting shops. As the millennium approached, she decided the future of betting lay online and bought the Bet365.com domain on eBay for $25,000 (£19,000), a move that catapulted her and her family up the UK wealth league.

She was awarded a CBE in 2012 for services to the community and business, and has become known as the “patron of the Potteries” for her decision to continue to base Bet365 in Stoke, where it is the largest private-sector employer. “We mortgaged the betting shops and put it all into online,” she said at the time. “We knew the industry required big startup costs but we gambled everything on it.”

Bet365’s customers wagered almost £52.3bn last year – £5.5bn more than the year earlier. The company’s TV ads are fronted by the actor Ray Winstone and broadcast during high-profile sporting events.

The revelation of Coates’ huge pay comes as an official report says the number of problem gambling children has quadrupled in two years. An audit by the Gambling Commission found there were 55,000 problem gamblers aged 11-16, and a further 70,000 young people at risk.

The report, published on Wednesday, found that 450,000 children – one in seven of the total – bet regularly on fruit machines, online, in betting shops or at bingo. All gambling is illegal for under-18s.

Mike Dixon, the chief executive of the addiction charity Addaction, said: “It’s astonishing that a CEO of one gambling company is paid 26 times more than the entire industry’s contribution to [addiction] treatment. We know problem gambling affects more than 2 million people. We need a proper levy on gambling industry profits so more people can get help and support.”

bet365 made a £75m donation to the Denise Coates Foundation, which mostly funds medical and education charities. The charity has not made any donations to gambling or addiction charities.

November 15, 2018

Record digital returns and ticket sales increase for National Lottery

Camelot UK has announced a £175.9m increase on National Lottery ticket sales to £3,456.3m for the first six months of its 2018/19 financial year (1 April to 29 September 2018).

Camelot’s success in building on last year’s sales progress comes as the group seeks to benefit from its wide-ranging strategic review which it conducted in 2017.

Over the same period, sales across The National Lottery’s digital channels grew to a record £831.4m, an increase of £77.4m, driven by a better game range and mix, improved merchandising and the launch late last year of a full version of the Android app.

Mobile sales increased by £99.8 million to an all-time high of £431.6m, with sales through smartphones and tablets now accounting for over 50% of all digital sales.

Camelot CEO Nigel Railton commented on the firm’s progress: “Thanks to the work we’ve been carrying out following our comprehensive review of the business, we’ve made a very positive start to the financial year across the board,” he said.

“Delivering over £2.8 billion to Good Cause projects, players and retailers in just six months is a fantastic achievement – and underlines the massive difference that The National Lottery continues to make to the lives of people and communities throughout the UK.

“Everyone at Camelot is committed to ensuring that this success story continues, so we’ll be looking to build on this momentum by continuing to focus on those areas that we identified in the review. We’ll continue to make improvements across our retail and digital channels, and build on the good headway we’ve made to date in making The National Lottery brand more relevant and visible.

“On top of that, we’ve got some great plans for the second half of the year to ensure that we’re offering a more balanced and appealing range of games that offers something for everyone – starting with exciting changes to Lotto next week to give our players a better winning experience.”

He added: “While there is much work still to do – and while we’ll continue to face challenges that are beyond our control, such as economic uncertainty and unrelenting competition from both the gambling sector and industrial-scale society lotteries that operate on a national basis – I’m very encouraged by the further progress we’ve made over the first half of this year.

“I’m confident that the strong foundations we’ve put in place and the exciting plans we have lined up will help us deliver even more for our players and the millions of people for whom National Lottery funding is so crucial.”

Football agent Will Salthouse accused of a lack of care after 'cashing in by introducing bookmaker to players'

A top football agent has been severely criticised by a gambling addiction charity for receiving payments from a leading bookmaker — in the form of free bets — after introducing them to his players at race meetings.

Will Salthouse, who has some major Premier League stars among his clients, considers himself one of the biggest deal-makers in the game.

He is said to have the ear of at least two prominent Premier League chairmen and owns an agency, Unique Sports Management, that boasts Wilfried Zaha and Glenn Murray on its stellar client list. Negotiating their deals can earn millions for agents like Salthouse.

But Salthouse received payments of £6,000 in 2015 and £4,000 in 2016 in free bets after inviting footballers into private boxes he hired at Cheltenham and enabling the bookmaker to introduce themselves to young footballers who might want to gamble.

At the Cheltenham Festival in 2016, a group of professional players in Salthouse’s box were banned by racecourse bosses after being caught urinating into empty pint glasses and tipping the contents over a balcony, an incident that brought shame on English football.

At a time when the worrying link between gambling and football is in the spotlight — only this week Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge was charged by the FA with misconduct for alleged breaches of betting rules — the revelation about the arrangement between the bookmaker and Salthouse has brought severe criticism.

The Sporting Chance Clinic, which was set up to support players with problems such as gambling addictions, described an agent’s willingness to receive financial reward from a bookie who was introduced to his clients as ‘appalling’. They have said it raised concerns about a ‘poor attitude to player care’.

There is also debate over whether Salthouse, who received the payments into his personal gambling account with the bookmaker, and claims they were in exchange for renting the hospitality boxes, should have declared the payments to HMRC.

Salthouse maintained that he was advised by an accountant there was no need and HMRC have declined to comment.

Sporting Chance chief executive Colin Bland said: ‘Firstly, there is no doubt that gambling is an issue among the playing population of football. Good research would show that a professional sportsperson is three times more likely to have a gambling problem than a member of the general population.

‘We do, as an organisation, have an issue with free bets. Free bets encourage people to gamble. It is a way of enticing people. It is a way of enticing what we would consider an already vulnerable population.

‘The dynamic of an agent being involved, it shows a lack of awareness to player care. We find that appalling. Seventy per cent of current players who have come to our service with an addictive disorder present with gambling problems. This is particularly poor behaviour (from the agent).’

When Salthouse reserved the Long Run Box, No 91, for March 10 at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival, his PA requested on his behalf that the bookmaker make a contribution of £6,000 plus VAT. The bookmaker requested an invoice.

Invoices dating back to 2013 had also been sent to the bookmaker, while arrangements appear to have been made for at least one event at Chester races.

The bookmaker Salthouse had the arrangement with is a favourite among high-net-worth individuals, with the average stake reported to be £3,000.

Representatives of the exclusive betting firm requested the names and numbers of all Salthouse’s guests — one year it totalled around 50 — including footballers he represents. The players were given a free bet if they completed an online application form that would enable the bookmaker to set them up with an account.

The bookmaker also requested that Salthouse send a text to his guests informing them that the bookmaker would be in touch.

On the notorious day at Cheltenham in March 2016, footballers in Salthouse’s box — including Samir Carruthers and James Collins, who were playing for MK Dons and Northampton at the time — sparked a major controversy when they were seen urinating into glasses on the balcony of the private box.

Collins was then pictured pouring a glass of liquid over the balcony. The pair were banned from all courses in Britain by the British Horseracing Authority and Cheltenham barred USM from hosting the box they had booked for the following day, Ladies’ Day.

Salthouse indicated through his lawyers that everyone who attended the Cheltenham boxes was aware of the existence of the payments he received.

Responding to the allegations, Salthouse’s solicitors said: ‘Three years ago Will Salthouse hosted a box at the races for experienced players.

‘Those who chose to gamble wagered small sums in what was a social occasion. Others did not bet at all. He has done nothing wrong and would never try to encourage a player who does not bet to gamble. He has never profited from players’ losses.’

The PFA declined to comment.

November 13, 2018

Daniel Sturridge: Liverpool striker charged with breaching betting rules

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge has been charged by the Football Association with misconduct for alleged breaches of its betting rules in January this year.

It is alleged he breached one rule relating to betting on football, and one which covers providing information relating to football which has been "obtained by virtue of his position" and "is not publicly available".

A Liverpool spokesman said Sturridge, 29, had co-operated fully "throughout this process" and "stated categorically that he has never gambled on football".

The England international has been given until 18:00 GMT on Tuesday, 20 November to respond to the charge.

The Liverpool spokesman added: "As with any issue of this nature, we will allow the process to be concluded in its entirety before making any further comment."

Sturridge, who joined Liverpool from Chelsea in 2013, spent the second half of last season at West Brom after moving on loan on 29 January.

He has won 26 caps for England, the last of which came against Lithuania in October 2017.

An FA statement said the charge against him was "specifically in relation to Rule E8(1)(a)(ii) and Rule E8(1)(b)" which are:

Rule E8(1)(a) - a participant shall not bet, either directly or indirectly, or instruct, permit, cause or enable any person to bet on - (i) the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in or in connection with, a football match or competition; or (ii) any other matter concerning or related to football anywhere in the world, including, for example and without limitation, the transfer of players, employment of managers, team selection or disciplinary matters.

Rule E8(1)(b) - where a participant provides to any other person any information relating to football which the participant has obtained by virtue of his or her position within the game and which is not publicly available at that time, the participant shall be in breach of this Rule where any of that information is used by that other person for, or in relation to, betting.

There has been no confirmation of what precisely Daniel Sturridge is alleged to have done.

However, in stating the offence took place in January this year, the Football Association appears to have provided a major clue.

January was when Sturridge sprang something of a surprise by joining West Brom on loan, when it had been expected he would move to Newcastle.

The FA has also pointed out that not only is it a breach for players to gamble on anything to do with football themselves, it also breaks the rules if they pass on 'insider information' to third parties.

Punishments are quite wide ranging.

Joey Barton was banned for 18 months in 2017 after he was found guilty of placing 1,260 bets over a 10-year period. Former Manchester City defender Martin Demichelis was fined £22,000 in May 2016 for gambling on 29 matches.

The additional issue for Sturridge, who has made 12 appearances for Liverpool this season, is that his contract expires at the end of the season and there has been no word from the Reds about whether he is likely to get another.