8XBet bites watchdog

Barely 12 months ago, it promised Australia’s online gambling regulator not to target customers in that country. Now, Manchester City’s controversial betting partner, 8XBet, is injecting broadcasts of the A-League with "virtual" ads for its own brand and a type of betting outlawed in Australia. 

By Jack Kerr

The A-League finds itself in a tricky situation, which might explain why its media office has been ignoring our daily emails for the last two weeks.

At the core of the issue is 8XBet, an unlicensed bookmaker linked to South East Asia’s cyber slavery industry – and which is also the betting partner of Manchester City. 

Visit its websites any weekend and you might see Australia’s only professional men’s competition being live-streamed on its home page. 

You don’t need to look closely to see something highly unusual: "virtual" ad for the bookmaker are superimposed on pitchside hoardings around the ground, as far as the eye can see. These run non-stop for the entire length of the match.

"Virtual" ads are superimposed somewhere between the game being filmed and it hitting our screens, and  allow different in-play ads to be shown in different markets. As Josimar recently reported, Bundesliga clubs like Borussia Dortmund run ads for unlicensed offshore gamblers on their international broadcasts.

If this is something the A-League has endorsed, it would be more than bad optics. It would mean the A-League was working with an unlicensed bookmaker who was found to be breaching Australian law. It would also undercut the work of its club...

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