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English Football League clubs cash in on fans’ betting losses

English Football League (EFL) clubs have come under fire after it was revealed they have been taking a cut of the money fans lose with a leading bookmaker.

The report in the Guardian claims that EFL members act as affiliates for Sky Bet and are entitled to a share of losses from accounts created via the partnership.

The arrangement was ditched at the start of the 2019/20 season, but some clubs will continue to receive payments until the end of the 2023/24 campaign.

There have been calls from politicians and campaigners for the government to investigate whether Premier League clubs are benefitting from similar deals.

Alex Davies-Jones, the shadow minister for sport, said: “Despite promising much-needed reform, the government have failed to bring forward their white paper, and it is people across the country who continue to be impacted.

“We have an analogue approach to regulation, but we live in a digital world and the government can and must do more.”

Labour MP Carolyn Harris also waded into the issue, claiming that ‘football clubs are exploiting their own fans’ by taking a cut of betting losses.

The EFL confirmed the affiliate scheme was in operation but was stopped when the partnership with Sky Bet was renewed in 2019.

An EFL spokesperson said: “We placed a greater focus on putting safer gambling at the heart of the agreement. As a result, the previous affiliate scheme was discontinued.

“While some clubs receive revenue from legacy sign‑ups that occurred prior to the new agreement, the affiliate scheme in place was phased out, and all sign‑up links via EFL Digital channels have been removed.”

Sky Bet also insisted it was committed to safer gambling and supports the evidence-led measures being introduced as part of the upcoming gambling act review.

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