Are bookmakers the biggest nightmare of English football?
Bookmaking companies are getting more involved in sports, regardless of what you might think. On the one hand, they are investing tons of money in the industry, but they are getting “free” exposure to the masses in return, on the other one. Such an issue is also seen in football’s cradle - the UK.
The recent British Gambling Commission’s report is quite shocking. We are not going to bother you reading the whole document but will just highlight the main points.
- 27/44 Premier League and Championship football clubs have bookmakers on their jerseys.
- Around 500 thousand people are addicted to gambling in the UK.
- Another 2 million are walking on the edge
- The number of minors obsessed with gambling has quadrupled during the last two years and currently totals to around 50 thousand.
Bookmaking companies’ logos can be seen at probably every stadium and on every other clubs’ jersey in England. Teams do not really get anything from such a cooperation, but rather otherwise! Sponsorships bring lots of additional money for clubs, and bookmakers are the ones who can outbid anyone in this field. As a result, football clubs are kind of edgy with the law and instead would like to pay some small fees, than resign from a partnership with the bookies.
The most recent example is Huddersfield Town, which during the pre-season friendly match was suited up in jerseys featuring a limit-exceeding size of the sponsor logo. Guess what the penalty for such a move was? Something that the club probably did not even notice - £50,000!
Another blockbuster story also took place in England. The Championship club, Derby County and its new signee, the former England national team captain, Wayne Rooney broke the headlines with such a stunt. Nobody would’ve even paid attention to something like that, but the fact that it happened exactly at the same time doesn’t cease to amaze. The moment Derby signed a new deal with one of the online casinos, Rooney chose to wear number 32, which directly associates with the company’s name.
There is still some hope, though. A seventh division football team, Lewes FC, is going against the system. The club was brought up to the public’s attention in 2017 when it decided to even up salaries of both men’s and women’s rosters. Their most recent move is even more impressive and probably deserves even more respect. Lewes partnered up with a Gambling With Lives foundation, which strives to fight addiction to gambling among British minors.