PokerStars has been forced to drop Barcelona and Brazilian star Neymar Jr. from their UK-facing Dream Team Collection promotion; Manchester United offer £140m for his signature.
Neymar Jr. has been benched from all UK-facing PokerStars promotions and advertising after the world’s largest online poker room fell foul of an age discrepancy law held within the rulebook of United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) guidelines.
The rule state that when it comes to advertisements and promotions nobody under the age of 25 can be featured gambling or playing a significant role. Neymar Jr. Is only 23.
The news is a huge set back for PokerStars. The Barcelona forward joined the team as brand ambassador in May. The Dream Team Collection, where he stars alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldo Nazario, was the first time Stars had leveraged his personal brand for the business. It was the most expensive promotion in Stars history.
With Neymar Jr. sidelined, PokerStars have reached out to old reliable to fill his slot. Everyone knows that Daniel Negreanu likes a game of football, but to be thrust into the action with the two Ronaldo’s is something else. Negreanu will have his image used in all UK facing advertisements appertaining to the Dream Team Collection promotion. Affiliates have also been warned to stop using Neymar Jr. In UK promotions.
Neymar’s continued presence in the Spanish poker playing community lessens the UK blow. He plays on PokerStars.es (where he rivered a Royal Flush last week, en route to a final table appearance in the €20 Storm rebuy), and he even popped into the European Poker Tour (EPT) festival in Barcelona to cheer on some of his friends.
But what would happen if he left Spain?
What would happen if he joined a UK based football team?
That possibility could become a reality after reports emanating from the Brazilian press have suggested that Manchester United have offered £140m to capture the signature of the PokerStars ambassador. The news emerged after United officials were thought to be engaged with their counterparts in Barcelona regarding a possible transfer for Pedro. Once Pedro moved to Chelsea the rumor mill started to turn. Were United after Neymar all along?
If the reports are true, and United have offered that kind of money for the 23-year old, then he will be wearing a United shirt sooner rather than later. Neymar scored 39 goals last season, including the winner in the Champions League final win over Juventus. Interestingly, United have a relationship with bwin.
Neymar Jr. or no Neymar Jr., the Dream Team Collection promotion is still underway on the site. Players have the opportunity to participate in a series of freerolls named Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr (Daniel Negreanu in the UK) and Ronaldo Nazario through until September 17.
After 15-minutes of play, PokerStars will select one table at random and furnish them with a gold ticket to play in the PokerStars Dream Team Collection Freeroll Final played on Sep 18, where one lucky punter will walk away with $1m in prize money, and a signed shirt from Neymar Jr or Ronaldo.
I wonder what type of shirt it will be?
Madrid, Barcelona or United?