Bwin nets sports betting partnership with Belgian Pro League

4 August 2020

GVC Holdings-owned bwin has agreed to become the new sports betting partner of the Belgium's top tier football division, the Pro League.

Brokered by sports broadcaster Eleven Sports, the deal will run for three years and cover the top-tier Pro League, as well as the lower tier 1B Pro League and the Super Cup, in which the Pro League champions play the Belgian Cup winners.

The agreement will also include streaming rights, with bwin able to broadcast live coverage of matches for customers using its online and mobile platforms.

Pierre François, general manager of the Pro League, said that the partnership would put a strong emphasis on responsible gambling, and look to combat unhealthy habits among players.

“Each partner is aware of the risks of irresponsible behaviour and is committed to minimising these risks, each in its role,” François said. “Bwin, the Pro League and Eleven Sports will commit, within the framework of this partnership, to lead an integrated policy prevention, protection of players and the integrity of football as a whole.”

Steven Cartigny, commercial head of Benelux and the rest of the world at bwin, added: “Belgium is a breeding ground for talent that is successfully exported all over the world. As a result, the eyes of the whole world are more and more on our Pro League.

“Together with Eleven Sports, we want to increase interest in Belgian football and we want to present our bwin betting platform to viewers in an [engaging] and responsible manner.”

The new deal comes after the Pro League agreed to make a number of changes to its top-tier competition in order to avoid legal action brought forward by one of its clubs.

Waasland-Beveren was relegated from the Pro League when organisers in May decided to end the 2019-20 season early due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The club took legal action against the decision, saying that it could have avoided relegation if it had been permitted to complete the season. A court agreed, ruling Waasland-Beveren should be reinstated and that the League would be liable for a financial penalty of €2.5m (£2.3m/$2.9m) for each game played without the club in the division.

As such, the Pro League agreed to change the structure of the competition so that it would be expanded from 16 to 18 teams, including Waasland-Beveren, as well as OH Leuven and Beerschot, the two clubs involved in the 2020-21 promotion play-off from the First Division B.