A recent study has found that the increasing involvement of gambling operators in football resulted into establishing the association of the game and gambling in a generation of young men. This association, on the other hand, led to extremely severe consequences for many.
According to the research conducted by Dr Darragh McGee of the University of Bath, the aggressive marketing and sponsorship campaigns used by gambling companies since the then-ruling Labour Government made gambling regulation more relaxed in 2005. On the other hand, the use of the Internet has made gambling through personal computers and other mobile devices extremely popular among football fans.
The research is set to be academically published in 2020.
Dr McGee spent two years on the study, working closely with two groups of football fans aged from 18 to 35, who were based in Bristol and Derry. As reported by The Guardian, the research project, which got funding by the British Academy, the gambling habits of the to groups of people were thoroughly recorded. As a result, some of the young men who participated in the study told Dr McGee that they are no longer able to watch a football match unless they make several bets. Such gamblers further revealed that they have up to 25 accounts with online gambling operators. They also shared that their football conversations with friends are usually more about betting, rather than the game itself.
According to gamblers, the marketing used by bookmakers is very effective, especially when it comes to the offers of so-called “free bets”. The participants in the study also explained that usually losses generated by using such bets do not feel like losing real money because they do not involve going to a betting shop anymore and can be placed wherever they are through their smartphones.
Gambling Operators Presence during Live TV Broadcast Criticised
One of the participants told Dr McGee that he had 40 accounts with online betting operators and is unable to watch matches before placing in-play bets on the number of yellow cards, corners or throw-ins.
The findings of Dr McGee’s study on the two groups revealed that the intensity of online gambling among football fans has had an extremely severe impact on many of them. As the researcher told The Guardian, his study documented the consequences which compulsive gambling have on people’s lives. According to him, young men who find themselves lacking enough valuable opportunities for better employment, see gambling as an alternative to gaining considerable wealth or better social status. Unfortunately, such gamblers end up completely devastated.
The report findings were announced after the major online gambling operators in the UK agreed on a voluntary “whistle-to-whistle” TV advertising ban during live sports events broadcast on TV. The only exception was made for horse racing, as in-play betting is, in fact, crucial for the sport.
The increased presence of gambling during live sports broadcast on TV has been vastly criticised. According to figures provided by the UK Gambling Commission, the total amount lost by people betting in the UK in the period from April 2017 to March 2018 was estimated to £14.4 billion, which represents a massive increase from the £13.8 billion spent for the previous year period. Of that amount, £5.3 billion was lost by players while gambling on the Internet.