Milne defends use of gambling firm as shirt sponsor and says money will go ‘into the club’
Ipswich Town managing director Ian Milne has defended the club putting the logo of a gambling firm on the front of their shirts and insists the money raised from a new sponsorship deal will ‘go into the club’.
After a decade of having the name of owner Marcus Evans on the front of the shirts, Town have signed a new three-and-a-half-year deal with Daub Alderney Ltd, part of the Stride Gaming group, to display the logo of online casino ‘Magical Vegas’.
It will appear with immediate effect on the red away shirts and, starting from next season, will then be emblazoned on all first-team shirts until the end of the 2020/21 campaign.
Blues managing director Ian Milne explained: “Marcus, or rather the Marcus Evans Group, has been the shirt sponsor for 10 years now. He was very keen to use that to get the name of the group out nationally and internationally and he feels that has been really well achieved for him.
“We’ve revisited it in reviews about the shirt and he’s said ‘let’s look around and see who’s out there’. Very quickly Daub came forwards and said they’d like to do it.
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“I’m delighted that we’ve got Daub and their Magic Vegas logo. I think they are going to be very good partners for the group. There were one or two other interested parties, but financially this was the best deal.”
Ipswich, who have the logo of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices on the back of their shirts, become the 14th Championship club to have an online gambling website as their main shirt sponsor.
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“Commercially that seems to be the way these shirt sponsorships are going and we’ve joined up, so to speak,” said Milne.
“It brings extra finding into the club, which is good, and it will be going into the club – it’s not going anywhere else. It’s part of Marcus’ continuing investment in the club.”
Asked if the club, who cannot put the logo on their children’s shirts due to FA guidelines, had considered the moral or ethical implication of linking up with a gambling firm, Milne replied: “Of course there were discussions about us being a community club and what have you, but betting is legal.
“Betting has to be done responsibly and it’s for adults only, that’s very important to stress. And I don’t think the logo is overly ‘gambling’.
“It is lawful to do this and there are very strict rules in football about it. For example I’m not allowed to bet on any football anywhere in the world which I think is absolutely correct.
“There were those arguments, but I don’t see why we shouldn’t have this sponsorship.”
Quizzed if the money raised from the deal, which the club describes ‘close to £2m’, will go into Mick McCarthy’s first-team budget, he said: “Good question. It certainly goes into the club.
“Yes, it will help with Marcus’ discussions with Mick over this transfer season (January) and onwards in terms of how we mature and use it within the squad and the club.”
He continued: “It (the money) does make a difference. It’s like the other investments coming into the club, it helps to build the coffers and helps to build the team. As we know it’s very competitive in the Championship.
“As Mick has already said, we will be bringing in new players, be it loans or acquisitions, and we’ve got to understand that even loan players cost a lot of money through salaries.
“It will be investment as they discuss. Do I know any names as of this moment? No, I don’t. There’s always ongoing discussions, there’s always many names they are discussing, but until they get to fruition then it’s quite right it remains between those two gentleman.”
And when asked if this extra income would change the level of money that Evans invests in the club on an annual basis, Milne replied: “No. As we know his investment has increased. Yes, we’ve got quite strict control and guidelines on financial budgets, but it will remain very much in line with what we’re doing at the moment.”