Government regulator, the Charity Commission, is reported to be investigating links between the well-known online gambling operator, 32Red, and Derby County football club.
It’s understood that Derby County’s Community Trust mental health programme currently receives funding from the club’s sponsor, 32Red.
Although sponsorship deals between gambling brands and football clubs are commonplace, the Charity Commission is concerned that by allowing funding from a gambling operator to help with its Team Talk mental health programme, Derby County Community Trust may be seen as legitimising gambling, as well as running the risk of exposing vulnerable people to betting.
The Commission stated that it planned to contact the club’s trustees to find out more about how the partnership with 32Red and its associated risks have been considered. It added that it expects “all charities to ensure that they are only driven by their charitable mission and purpose in everything they do”.
The Charity Commission acknowledges that accepting donations and receiving ongoing funding (including sponsorship deals) raises vital funding for charities. However, it says that “there are also times when a charity might decide that it’s right not to accept sponsorship or money”.
A spokesperson for 32Red has since responded to the media coverage, stating that the brand’s investment in Derby’s Team Talk scheme “is a vital part” of its commitment to “reinventing the model of sponsorship to benefit both clubs and communities”.
32Red is an online casino and sportsbook company which was founded in Gibraltar in 2002. Over the years, it has partnered with many of the UK’s biggest football clubs, including Aston Villa, Glasgow Rangers, Leeds United, Swansea City, Middlesbrough, and Derby County. It also regularly sponsors British horse racing events.
Derby County is currently in 15th place on the Championship league table. The club, which is often referred to by its nickname, The Rams, was relegated from the Premier League in 2008 after it only managed to secure 11 points all season.