Dutch news sources have reported that the Netherlands National Cycling Association (KNWU) and European bookmaker Unibet (Kindred Group Plc) have chosen to mutually terminate their existing sponsorship agreement.
Estimated to be worth approximately €1 million per year for the KNWU, in 2016 Unibet marketing agreed to become the main sponsor of the KNWU racing team jersey, with the partnership beginning in 2017.
At the time of the agreement, Unibet an operator that has displayed its intentions to join the regulated Netherlands online gambling market, could not official display its brand on the KNWU jersey due to current Dutch regulations on advertising online betting services.
Instead, Unibet marketing chose to brand the KNWU jersey with six green dots representing its flagship logo. The operator stated that its KNWU sponsorship was a commitment to Dutch sports funding, as the Netherlands aimed to pass a new online betting framework in 2017.
Nevertheless, Unibet’s Dutch market ambitions have been frustrated by no progress on new ‘The Netherlands Gambling Act during 2017.
A new Dutch Gambling Act has been in debate since 2014 when the government submitted its initial mandate to the European Union. However, tax disputes between land-based and digital operators would stall any progress on the matter, with ministers failing to secure Act provisions before the Parliamentary recess for the 2017 Netherlands General Election.
Updating the media, Vincent Luyendijk, General Director of the KNWU racing, confirmed that Unibet would no longer be team sponsors. Luyendijk, thanked Unibet for its contribution to Dutch cycling, stating that there were ‘no hard feelings’ in the contract termination.