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Betting On Football Tops £12 Billion In Britain For The First Time

betting on football onlineIt has been revealed that more than £12 billion was bet on football in the United Kingdom over the last year, representing the first time that such a large figure has been reached. The statistics from the Gambling Commission show that around £10.99 billion was bet on the beautiful game between April of 2018 and March of 2019, with in-store betting on the sport amounting to around £1.57 billion.

The two figures combined meant that bookmakers took £12.56 billion in football bets, which is the amount before any expenses and winnings for punters are deducted from it. Whilst the figure itself is impressive, it’s a marked improvement on the previous twelve months when around £886 million was bet on football. It’s also close to double the £7.19 billion that was taken from bettors on the nation’s favourite sport between April 2015 and March 2016.

How Football Betting Has Improved Year-On-Year

Year Amount Bet Online Amount Bet In-Store Total Amount Bet On Football
November 2014 – March 2015 £2.12 billion £1.32 billion £3.44 billion
April 2015 – March 2016 £5.89 billion £1.3 billion £7.19 billion
April 2016 – March 2017 £8.19 billion £1.39 billion £9.57 billion
April 2017 – March 2018 £10.45 billion £1.23 billion £11.67 billion
April 2018 – March 2019 £10.99 billion £1.57 billion £12.56 billion

A quick look at the stats above will show you that the amount of money being bet on football by people in the United Kingdom has increased with every passing year.

You can see from the table that the amount of money bet on football in shops has remained relatively consistent over the past few years, though it peaked in the last year. It’s interesting that that peak came they year after its lowest amount, suggesting that the World Cup of 2018 may have been influential in people placing bets in person.

Why The Increase?

betting sponsor on a footy shirt

The most obvious question that will be asked by most people is why, exactly, there has been such a large increase in football betting over the previous few years. The obvious answer is that much of it is due to the expansion of the world of online betting.

The sheer convenience of being able to place a bet on a mobile phone or tablet means that people have increased the amount that they do exactly that. The improvement in the style and speed of the apps that allow people to bet on the go has also increased the willingness to do it.

Yet that can’t be the one and only reason for the increase in betting on football. After all, betting via the Internet has been around since the turn of the millennium. It’s also noteworthy that the increase appears to have come at a time when football’s relationship with gambling was under increased scrutiny.

In April of 2017 Joey Barton hit out at the Football Association for its relationship with gambling after being handed an 18 month ban for his own betting.

Football And Betting Has Long Been Intertwined

football moneyBarton’s point was that the Football Association was a bit rich for criticising him over his own gambling problems when they had a sponsorship deal with the bookmaker Ladbrokes at the time.

The English Football League also agreed to extend the sponsorship deal that it had with Sky Bet, which had been in place since 2013 and wouldn’t end until 2024. Sky Bet is not linked to Sky Sports in anyway other than bringing, given that it is owned by GVC Capital.

Even away from the world of direct sponsorship, most football fans will readily admit to betting on the sport on a regular basis. If you look back to the origins of the relationship between football and betting you will find information about the Football Pools, which began life in 1923. Whilst it had a rocky start, it soon demonstrated the desire of football lovers to have a flutter on their favourite sport and it would soon make John Moores a very rich man indeed.

Will It Continue To Grow?

profit riseThe next question that the industry itself will want an answer to is whether or not betting on the football is likely to continue to grow. The Betting and Gaming Council was established earlier in the year and one of its first acts was to confirm that ten Chief Executives of the country’s leading gambling operators had agreed to a package that was aimed at reducing gambling related harm.

The following were the gambling firms involved:

  • William Hill
  • Bet365
  • Flutter Entertainment (Paddy Power and Betfair)
  • GVC Holdings (Ladbrokes and Coral)
  • Aspers
  • Caesars
  • Genting
  • Playtech
  • Rank Group
  • Sky Betting & Gaming

Given that the Remote Gambling Association had previously already agreed to a ‘whistle-to-whistle‘ self-imposed ban on advertising during live sporting events, it suggests that betting companies are willing to do more to limit their influence over sports like football before they were forced to do so by the government.

Indeed, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the time, Jeremy Wright, said that he ‘welcomed’ the move and was ‘pleased’ that the gambling industry was stepping up to do more.

All in all that suggests that the growth of football betting may well slow down a touch, even if it’s never likely to come to a halt altogether. We will almost certainly see in the coming months and years just how important advertising has been to the growth in betting on football. If the figures fall over the next couple of years then it will prove to have been vital, whereas if they maintain or even continue to grow then it will be suggestive of a relationship between punters and the sport of football that is close to unbreakable.

The betting industry feels as though it’s at an important point at the moment. The criticism levelled at it regarding the work done to protect society’s most vulnerable from gambling related harm has increased at the same time as the sector as a whole announced a Gross Gambling Yield of £14.4 billion. Whether football becomes the focus of that criticism in a bigger way remains to be seen.

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