The Debate – Dangerous game: Does football have an online gambling problem?


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What’s as addictive as alcohol or tobacco, targets the young and underprivileged and makes millions for sports franchises? As we set our gaze beyond the ball at the pitch-side billboards at Euro 2021, ads for beer and home appliances seem a dying breed. Instead, online sports betting rules. It’s been more than a decade since most European nations loosened rules on online gambling. What are the consequences?


We measure the impact on the target audience and ask why online sports gambling has benefited handsomely from the pandemic’s digital acceleration. When Spurs fans were recently allowed back to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, why were they relegated to the upper deck so the TV audience could instead see a word from Tottenham’s sponsor?

More broadly, how does this mix of fantasy football and instant betting change the game? One of the attractions of sports betting is the promise of being told that you’re smarter than the coach and your peers. Why not cash in on your second guessing of the so-called experts? Never mind the fact that in any casino, the house always win.

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain, Imen Mellaz and Jack Colmer Gale.


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