Dundee United’s main sponsor next season has several links to a controversial former billionaire, who has served jail time, and his family.
The club confirmed QuinnCasino as the name on the front of the team’s strips next season. It is the online casino wing of bookmaker QuinnBet.
Until recently the gambling firm was wholly owned by Sean Quinn, a man named Ireland’s wealthiest person in The Sunday Times Rich List in 2008.
The 75-year-old’s business empire started with a gravel business on his family farm in Fermanagh.
From humble beginnings, the Quinn Group grew to include cement, glass radiators, financial services and property development.
In 2008 his fortune was estimated at £3.7 billion (€4.7bn).
Bankruptcy and jail
The financial crash brought a sharp reversal in fortunes.
He built up a stake in Anglo Irish Bank, which collapsed in value due to exposure to the property market.
The bank was effectively nationalised in 2009 after its shares fell 98% from their peak. Quinn’s exposure was estimated at more than one billion euros.
The bank’s nationalisation led to another problem. Quinn was pursued in 2010 for the bank’s loans to his companies worth around €2.9bn.
Unable to repay the loans, in April 2011 the bank took control of the Quinn Group.
Sean Quinn and his family were removed from all management positions. Mr Quinn was declared bankrupt in January 2012.
The extraordinary fall from grace continued in when in November 2011 he was jailed for nine weeks for contempt of court. He was sent to prison for preventing the seizure of assets.
But among some people in Ireland, Mr Quinn was still held in high regard, particularly for acquiring health insurance provider Bupa in 2007.
This secured 300 jobs and protected 475,000 health insurance contracts.
Between 2011 and 2019 the Irish Times found there had been 70 acts of violence and vandalism on Quinn Group firms. The Quinn family has condemned these incidents.
QuinnBet is the trading name of Belbridge Consultancy Ltd, a company incorporated in 2016.
A holding company, QuinnB Sports Ltd, was set up a year later. The most recent filing at Companies Registration Office Ireland, for 2020, shows QuinnB as owning the entire shareholding of Belbridge.
Mr Quinn held all the shares in QuinnB until 2019, a year he stood down as director.
Between 2019 and 2020 he transferred his shares to daughter Brenda and accountant Eoin O’Shea.
QuinnBet’s managing director Stephen Kelly is married to another of Mr Quinn’s daughters, Aoife.
🤝 We are delighted to announce @Quinn_Bet as our new principal partner for the 2022/23 campaign, with their logo set to adorn the front of our shirts next season
Read more 👇 | #UnitedTogether
— Dundee United FC (@dundeeunitedfc) June 1, 2022
The Belbridge accounts show QuinnBet has experienced strong growth, with pre-tax profits of more than €1.6m in 2020, up from €388,000 in 2019.
Its website offers bets on real and virtual sporting events, as well as the online casino.
QuinnBet is an ‘official partner’ at Hibernian FC and a betting partner for AFC Bournemouth, who will play in the English Premier League next season.
Dundee United describe the QuinnCasino deal as “lucrative”.
Mr Kelly said Quinnbet will work with Dundee United Community Trust to promote “wellbeing, education and awareness” around gambling.