Sports betting: a problem for English football

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Through a proposal of GVC Holdings, sports betting companies have set themselves quite strict limits for the new season

Sports betting: a problem for English football

August 2019 will be a crucial moment for the development of sports in the United Kingdom and, more especially, sports betting companies that have been very close to the development of industry, clubs, and sports in general. Through a proposal from GVC Holdings, one of the most significant sports betting companies in the United Kingdom, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral Gala, among others, the bets in these countries are going to change radically to protect the bettors and the public health of the British.

Leer en español: Las apuestas deportivas: un problema para el fútbol inglés

As of the 2019/20 season, sports in the United Kingdom will see how a block is established on advertisements in television events, whether live or delayed, as well as billboard advertisements around stadiums and sports centers. This measure seeks to discourage bets as a general objective although, according to statements by the owners of GVC Holdings, the purpose is to protect their customers against a clear risk of addiction and mishandling of bets.

With this measure, the most affected sport is, without a doubt, football, something that is somewhat contradictory, because the Premier League is the professional soccer league that gets more money in terms of television rights and, hence, viewers throughout the world. At the same time, horse races are excluded from this measure, since bets are a fundamental factor for the survival of this sport.

A problem of 'public health'

As you can see, the motivation for this measure is public health, as the UK Gambling Commission estimates that around 430,000 people suffer disorders and problems directly related to betting. Hence, it is directly derived, then, that football teams lose sponsorship on their shirts, for example, or that a betting limit is set on certain specific types of bets (slot machines, from 100 pounds to 2, according to the BBC) , and that the other big companies are urged to join this intention. Hand in hand with this self-imposed regulation, companies are expected to contribute to research and recovery centers in problems related to betting.

Only in the first division of England, the Premier League, there are nine clubs with sports betting brands as the main sponsor of his shirt. These are Everton (SportPesa), Newcastle United (Fun88), West Ham (Betway), Huddersfield Town (Ope Sports), Bournemouth (M88), Crystal Palace (ManBetX), Burnley (LaBa360), Fulham (DafaBet) and Wolverhampton ( W88).

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However, not everything is so satisfactory, because the global picture does not correspond at all to what the United Kingdom advances in terms of regulation. In the United States, for example, online sports betting is growing more and more, even to the point of reckless statements like the one made by Holman W. Jenkins Jr. in the Wall Street Journal, where he says that bets are going to take televised sports. Similarly, it is curious, for example, the recent agreement reached by the giant Genius Sports Group with Football DataCo to distribute in real time the information of the English and Scottish football league worldwide to be able to bet. While in the United Kingdom bets are self-censoring, globally large companies profit from their sport.

And that's just one example in the United States, a country that historically has had a fairly high regulation against betting and has managed to reduce them to small enclaves, such as Las Vegas (or Nevada, in general) and Atlantic City.

The situation in Latin America is much more complicated because historically it has not been a region or of high rollers or sports events that put the world's attention on them. There is always a more local tint in your events and the industry that revolves around them. However, with the growth of the internet it has been seen how, over the years, large companies such as Bwin or Bet365 have been installed in different Latin American countries, because before being a problem of general interest, they represent, in the first instance, an opportunity for growth. It may be asked then, is the regulation that the United Kingdom is adopting a purely local matter or should the world follow its example?

LatinAmerican Post | Jorge Ovalle

Translated from "Las apuestas deportivas: un problema para el fútbol inglés"

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