Glazer faces scrutiny over United's gambling links

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The Independent Football

Malcolm Glazer could find himself under further scrutiny by the National Football League over Manchester United's gambling connections.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner has already been asked to explain the club's links to a casino. The NFL are always nervous about any owner being associated with gambling and strongly condemn the practice. In addition to a casino being planned, United have a deal with Ladbrokes, who have a number of betting booths at Old Trafford.

United also receive revenue through Sky and the broadcasting company have an off-shoot in Skybet.

Glazer, who has effectively taken control at United by buying up 76 per cent of shares, would seem to be at odds with NFL policy over gambling. Shareholders United claim this issue needs to be addressed ahead of the proposed casino being built, as a decision on that matter is not due to be taken until 2007.

However the pressure group believe that if the NFL feel the need to bring Glazer to book then the punishment would more likely involve the Buccaneers.

"If the NFL are interested in upholding their policies then what they would probably do is enforce them on Glazer's stateside business," said SU's American representative J D Deitch.

"If they are stuck between a rock and a hard place, they cannot tell Glazer how to run Manchester United. They may put pressure on Tampa Bay and say to him 'you cannot continue owning the team'.

"I am not sure the NFL understands the fact that United derive a source of revenue from Ladbrokes, Sky and Skybet. One would assume, though, the Glazers recognise this. We have been told they have tremendous business acumen.

"I don't think they are going to be actively looking to deny themselves revenue from betting. They will only do what the NFL tell them."

Deitch was in Washington on Tuesday for the NFL's spring meeting but was left frustrated in his efforts to speak to one of the Glazer family. Glazer Snr is now preparing to explain to the NFL about United's partnership with gaming company Las Vegas Sands Corp and the plans for a regional casino on the Trafford Park side of the ground.

However there will be no decision until the beginning of 2007 when government ministers will scrutinise the applicants based on the advice of an independent panel.

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