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Ladbrokes axe SPFL sponsorship in huge blow to Scottish football

15th August, 12:30

LADBROKES will not renew their SPFL sponsorship when the current deal finishes at the end of this season.

SunSport understands clubs were told the news by league chiefs this afternoon.

It comes as the bookmaker's parent company GVC Holdings - who also own brands such as Coral, Bwin and Sportingbet - refocuses its efforts on responsible gambling.

In April, the firm called for an end to all sports betting advertising during broadcasts and perimeter board ads at football stadiums.

And it appears GVC's strategy has led to Ladbrokes' decision to axe its significant investment in Scottish football.

The development will come as a huge blow to the SPFL's 42 member clubs.

The betting giant initially joined forces all four leagues in a two-year deal worth over £4million in 2015, with the agreement extended for another year in 2017.

Ladbrokes signed a new two-year SPFL contract, valued at £5m, last January.

The organisation's chief executive Neil Doncaster said: "We have enjoyed a superb partnership since they first came on board in 2015, and are confident that will continue and flourish until 2020 and hopefully beyond."

But that partnership has now come to an end - seven months after Ladbrokes' owners launched its Changing For The Bettor campaign aimed at understanding the issues around problem gambling.

The firm said: "The campaign is being spearheaded by a major new research project into problem gambling with the Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital.

"The guiding principle of Changing for the Bettor is to further establish GVC as the most trusted and enjoyable betting operator in the world."