Betting and the Beautiful Game

One thing I have noticed a lot this last year is the dangerous world of sport betting and the connection it has with the beautiful game (football or soccer if you are American) in the UK.

It used to be if you wanted to put a bet on a match that you would have to go to a betting shop. Now you have hundreds of free apps at your disposal for your phone, tablet or computer that will let you bet at a push of a button and from the comfort of your own home.

I think this is very dangerous, as now betting has become a convenience thing with no stigma attached to it. With the craze for game apps, has betting online through apps become a new game for some?

Alongside the rise of betting apps has been a rise in the connection between televised football and betting. First it started with betting companies paying for TV adverts around football matches, then it moved to betting companies sponsoring the programmes, now it’s moved to a point where on some games the betting adverts are on the screen when the players come out and you have live odds appearing.

This isn’t just happening for the evening games this is happening for the afternoon kick offs too. Many children and families are watching these games, yet the TV companies seem to care very little. Every year TV companies seem to be pushing the boundaries and finding new ways to advertise gambling as part of the programme, to either increase the money they get from betting companies or to keep their money and not lose them to a competitor.

Throughout any live game you are being enticed to bet. With live odds being shown before kick off and at half time. This is coupled with lots of betting promotions including free bets, cashback and the ability to cash out at any time. Not only do you have all this but you also have a million and one different things you can bet on throughout the game. This is before talking about the fact that you have the ability to bet on practically any game happening anywhere in the world.

The message put across is that betting and football go hand in hand. A message that says betting is part of the experience and will help you enjoy the game more. I remember seeing one betting advert of some lads walking to a football game and they were on their phones putting a bet on and coming home to check how they have done. I have also seen other adverts which are designed to make you laugh and to show that betting is great fun, are these messages we want our children to hear?

Not only are TV channels tightly linked to betting firms, lots of football clubs are too through sponsorship. First we have shirt sponsorship, then we have constant adverts on club websites and their social media feeds. Football clubs are supported by many families, with most clubs seemingly wanting to attract the family market and this is why it is dangerous. Now any 13 year old kid with access to the internet can see that the club they support, supports gambling and is encouraging their fans to do so. Betting on your team is now seen as a way to show your support and your allegiance.

If smoking and alcohol were promoted this excessively around football programming people would be up in arms but for something which can be equally addictive and bad for your health no one seems to care.

Football is a game which can capture the imagination and bring such a feel good factor. It is a game where clubs want to build allegiances with its fans in a band of brothers sort of way, but if the clubs really cared about their fans why would they want to risk their financial and mental wellbeing? To me that doesn’t seem like a nice thing to do.

I think the rise of betting sponsorship shows that the TV companies and football clubs will put their revenue streams ahead of their viewers and fans, whom without they couldn’t do what they do, as no fans means no business.

2 thoughts on “Betting and the Beautiful Game

  1. There are a number of incorrect premises shown here and also conclusions that don’t follow from the premises.

    One clear on is the assumption that gambling overall is a bad thing. That is simply not the case. It is a bad thing for a small minority of people who cannot control their gambling. But even these people are acting freely and doing with their money what they most want to do, even if by doing so, they are not living up to someone else’s view on what their best interest is.

    The author also frequently repeats the view that gambling is a dangerous thing for children to be exposed to. To me this is daft. Gambling is part of adult life and becoming aware of adult life and taking advice from your parents and other adults is part of the processes of maturing.

    He also mentions features of modern bookmaking (free bets, cash out and range of markets) that make gambling better for consumers and lists these as some sort of negative about it.

    He also thinks gambling should be presented with some sort of stigma attached which seems bizarrely puritanical.

    He also asserts that children will be compelled to gamble either because it is presented as part of the experience or out of loyalty to their team. This is highly implausible. People are autonomous beings, who can figure out how they want to spent their money and if that is on gambling, they should be allowed to do that, over the age of 18. That someone’s team is sponsored by a bookmaker seems like a very weak reason to bet. A far more decisive factor would be that gambling is fun and exciting.


    • Thank you for your comment richard i appreciate it.

      I believe everyone has free will and the right to do what they want as long as it isnt illegal or harming others.

      The intersting argument in all of this is why would the betting companies pay so much for adverts if they werent effective. These companies want every fan when they are of age to bet with their conpany.

      I dont cast judgement on anyone who does gamble and i am not saying everyone who does is out of control. I am simply trying to say it can be dangerous as you can become addicted – the same as smoking or drinking.

      I also think that making gambling more available through apps makes it easier to hide problem gambling which again is dangerous.

      I as a fan of football want to enjoy the sport i love without being bombarded with betting adverts.


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