Sports Betting Operator to Back EPL’s Chelsea, Eyes Launch in Australia

Posted on: June 19, 2023, 06:50h. 

Last updated on: June 19, 2023, 01:37h.

Even as the English Premier League (EPL) prepares to introduce a front-of-shirt ban on gambling sponsorships, Chelsea FC is going in the opposite direction. The club has decided to team up with online gaming platform

The Chelsea FC sign hangs over Stamford Bridge, its home stadium
The Chelsea FC sign hangs over Stamford Bridge, its home stadium. The EPL soccer team is considering a sponsorship deal with iGaming platform (Image: Brentford FC)

The EPL confirmed just two months ago that it will block all front-of-shirt sponsorships as of the 2026-27 season. The move, which doesn’t affect sleeve sponsorships, was made following the approval by most EPL teams in a vote.

The decision by the UK’s top tier of soccer also allows for teams to create new gambling sponsorships and keep any that might currently be in place. Chelsea, despite the global controversy that has surrounded, is moving quickly to take advantage of the big money deal.

It’s a decision that, in part, the club believes the EPL is responsible for. It had wanted to partner with Paramount Plus. But the league blocked the petition over concerns it might upset its broadcast partners.

Stake Lays Claim to Chelsea has found itself in more than a few questionable situations over the years. Controversial bets by Canadian music artist Drake, a multimillion-dollar lawsuit by a former partner, and other issues have sometimes put it in a bad light.

However, another arrangement that hits closer to home for UK soccer fans seems to make Chelsea tone-deaf to the negative publicity. It wasn’t too long ago that Everton signed a partnership with that caused a significant backlash among the club’s followers.

Seemingly desperate for money, this hasn’t kept Chelsea from selling its shirts to The two sides are close to wrapping up negotiations in a deal that will reportedly be worth just under £40 million (US$51.25 million) for one year. That’s four times what Everton received.

Chelsea and will have to move fast if the soccer club wants to maximize the value of the relationship. In accordance with the EPL’s new stance, it can only partner with the gaming operator for two seasons.

There’s also still a chance the deal will fall apart completely, depending on how Chelsea’s leadership, including American billionaire Todd Boehly, reacts. The team’s fans have already started to talk about a revolt, and the opposition is getting louder.

The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (CST) conducted a survey that determined that 77% of the team’s fans don’t support the sponsorship deal. The CST exists to “actively and professionally engage with Chelsea FC,” according to its website. Its goal is to represent stakeholders and team supporters, “ensuring their voice is heard at the club.”

It will all come down to money. If Boehly and the other executives believe the sponsorship deal will bring in more revenue than what Chelsea could lose through the loss of fan support, the agreement may still move forward.

Looking for a Spot in Oz

While the company is forming new sponsorship deals around the world, apparently wants to also play in its own backyard. The operator’s bosses are in Australia, although it holds a gaming license in Curaçao and isn’t a legal option in the country.

The Herald Sun reports that the company’s owners, Edward Craven and Bijan Tehrani, want to change that. They have registered a new entity with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). Stake Gaming Pty Ltd. is the first time a gaming company has been approved.

No one has publicly confirmed that the end game is to enter Australia and compete with Sportsbet or Tabcorp. However, Tehrani told The Weekend Australian Magazine last year that was in the process of applying for a sports betting license in Oz.

Sportsbet currently controls the largest share of the Australian sports betting market. If its numbers are to be believed, could quickly push it out of the top spot. reportedly handles around AU$585 million (US$401.6 million) a day in the rest of the world. It could potentially leverage that success to take over the Aussie market.