Gambling in football?

Has gambling got too much influence in sport?

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Have gambling companies got too much power in football?

By Joe Harker

Seven betting companies have been given the right to live-stream FA Cup games as part of a deal struck with the FA.

This contradicts an announcement made in 2017 that sponsorships with gambling companies would be brought to an end.

Bet365, Betfair, William Hill, Coral, Ladbrokes, Unibet and Paddy Power are the ones with the rights to stream games. Have they now got too much power over the beautiful game?

The Claim:

There has been much criticism for the FA's decision to let betting companies stream games.

Culture secretary Nicky Morgan said she hoped the FA would reconsider their decision, as the games are only available to people who place a bet on the game or create an account with a deposit before the game.

When football games cannot be watched unless the audience either places a bet or hands some money over to a betting company then that creates a problem with gambling. When you must gamble to watch a game then serious questions need to be asked over the ethics of the practice.

Nick Humby, former chief operating officer at the FA, said the FA ought to have rejected the deal with gambling firms. He said the choice to let betting companies stream games was an "extraordinary decision".

David Conn of The Guardian argues that politicians have to take a fair share of the blame for not doing enough to stop gambling from taking over sport.

The Counter Claim:

However, the betting companies have offered to waive their exclusive rights to show FA Cup games and allow the FA to show them too.

It comes in the face of huge criticism, meaning people will now be able to watch all FA Cup games on the FA's own website, while the streams on betting sites would still exist but wouldn't be the only place they could be seen.

The deals have actually been running since the start of last season but the criticism has come because third round FA Cup games took the time to raise awareness for mental health. Gambling is proven to be hazardous to mental health.

The FA should take the offer to cancel the exclusivity and ensure games aren't locked behind a gambling paywall.

The Facts:

There is a clear link between gambling and depression, meaning football fans are having to sign up to harmful behaviours in order to watch the beautiful game.

The streams on betting sites have adverts from the companies with live odds and encouragement to place bets.

There are around 400,000 people in the UK classed as "problem gamblers" with a further 1.5 million classed as "at risk". Every year over 500 habitual gamblers commit suicide.

Gambling is addictive and if football continues to let betting companies gain more influence then more people in a vulnerable position will be put in danger. Risk addiction to watch football? No thanks.

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