Online bookmakers Betway have taken it upon themselves to stop offering betting markets on football transfers and have challenged other top operators to follow their lead.
The move comes on the back of pressure on the industry from a group of MPs – namely The All Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling Related Harm (APPG) – who this week published a report suggesting gambling advertising should be banned.
On the back of research conducted over the course of a year, the group of over 50 politicians have determined that the UK needs a ‘complete overhaul’ as regulation of the betting industry has not been sufficient enough, describing the Gambling Commission as ‘not fit for purpose’.
In what appears to be a response to recent criticism of the industry, Betway announced on Wednesday that they would impose a voluntary ban on the offering of transfer betting markets, which have come under scrutiny in recent years despite their popularity.
Betway’s reasoning stems from their commitment to responsible gambling amid an effort to make the football betting experience as much about what happens on the pitch as possible.
“From June 17, we will no longer offer any odds on the movement of players via ‘football transfer’ or ‘player’s next club’ markets,” read a statement from the bookmakers.
Alan Alger, Betway spokesman and Head of Corporate Communications said: “First and foremost, we believe that betting on football should be about what happens on the pitch.
“The FA have strict rules on betting and we feel that offering odds on players to move to specific clubs highlights a grey area which has caused issues in the past. It is best removed as an option.
“When there are hundreds of prices and markets offered on most games, this is part of the football betting experience that we are happy to see shut down.
“This is based on a feeling that we’ve had for some time that betting responsibly should be about what happens on the pitch.”
Betway believe they have set the standard and hope their stance will be the beginning of the end for transfer betting, which has proven fruitful for bookmakers over the past seven-to-eight years in particular.
“We also call on our competitors to join us in this self-imposed ban,” added Alan Alger.
“We show a profit on these markets, but it’s something we are willing to sacrifice to highlight just how important it is for people to enjoy their football betting based on how the game is played on the pitch rather than newspaper and TV rumours about players moving clubs.
“So while we won’t be offering transfer markets, we will offer a number of markets on how a player will perform once they have joined a new club.”
In March, former Liverpool player Daniel Sturridge became the latest player banned for betting infringements having been found guilty of providing a relation with information about a supposed transfer move.
Meanwhile, in response to the report released by MPs on Tuesday, the Gambling Commission said: “We are committed to making gambling safer and reducing gambling harm. We disagree with the APPG’s assertion that we are ‘not fit for purpose’.”