UK bookmaker Ladbrokes has confirmed the signing of a two-year extension to its current sponsorship deal with the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) worth an estimated £5m over the next two football seasons.
As part of the deal, Ladbrokes will work with the SPFL throughout the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons to promote responsible gambling both within the game and with the wider Scottish football fan base.
The deal follows a similar responsible gambling-led sponsorship deal being agreed between Sky Bet and the English Football League in November 2017.
Ladbrokes has been a title sponsor of all four SPFL divisions since the 2015/16 season, and this move comes amidst sustained pressure on Scottish football to cut its ties with sports betting companies from a number of high profile figures in the game.
Among these names calling for changes to the relationship between Scottish football and sports betting companies are former Rangers midfielder Joey Barton, Aberdeen director Duncan Skinner, Annan Athletic chairman Henry McClelland and Ian Black, the former Hearts, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Rangers midfielder.
Announcing the deal on the league's website, SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster said: “We are thrilled that Ladbrokes has chosen to extend their title sponsorship of the SPFL for a further two years. We have enjoyed a superb partnership since they first came on board in 2015, and are confident that will continue and flourish until 2020 and hopefully beyond.
“We are also aware of our social responsibilities as a senior professional league in Scotland and will continue to promote a message of responsible gambling in conjunction with Ladbrokes.”
Jim Mullen, chief executive officer of Ladbrokes Coral Group, added: "We are delighted to be renewing the sponsorship of the SPFL. We knew when we started the sponsorship that we were associating with a sport that is followed with passion and dedication and it has proved to be an excellent partnership. Football beats at the heart of Scottish life, the cafes and canteens echo to the football conversation every week and we are delighted to be part of that conversation.
"In being at the heart of the discussion we also want to make sure that it reflects that gambling should be fun, not a problem, and that is why our continued sponsorship will enable us to promote responsible gambling and work with clubs to ensure that the integrity of the sport is upheld.”