|Leeds United has become the latest British football club rumored to be looking into creating an association with the gambling industry. There have been a spate of developments announced in the UK following the revelation of the impending relaxation of the UK gambling laws. A new trend as a result of the planned developments is the of football associated organizations joining forces with casino operators in partnerships for further business developments. |
On Monday Leeds United revealed that they have now formed a deal with casino operator Stanley Leisure. Stanley Leisure are Britainís biggest casino company, and the plan is to now build a gambling and leisure complex next to the Leedsí Elland Road stadium, on a neighbouring training ground. The development is expected to cost £125 million, and while Leeds United will take no part in the operation of the venue, the cuirrent agreement should mean that they could earn £5 million from the deal.
For a club currently debt to the value of £100 million itís a valuable gain for them to sell off their asset in the deal. They are the latest in a line of football clubs who are seeking financial profits through deals with gambling companies. So far Newcastle United, Glasgow Rangers, West Ham, Sheffield United, Coventry and Gillingham have formed alliances with casino operators. Michael Stirling of London based law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse offers up the following explanation for the new trend: 'The casino operators see a market up for grabs. The football clubs are looking for alternative forms of income and are not just thinking of soccer. Supporters are increasingly coming to matches and spending money and the clubs and casinos want to tap into that.' As most main clubs also have popular websites, there is also the opportunity in some deals, to capitalize on the existing supporter traffic to develop online gambling opportunities.