The Relationship Between Football & Gambling: How The Industry Is Allowing Football To Thrive

There was an interesting conversation on Test Match Special on Friday afternoon. It discussed the release of a new book by Simon Hughes and Manoj Badale, the owner of the Rajasthan Royals. The book looks at how cricket will cope long term financially, particularly if the coronavirus crises continues to have an impact on the sport.


One of the key points within it was how cricket must embrace gambling companies in the same manner as football has in order to tap into the large sums of money. Which proves very interesting. While many are against the close connection between football and gambling, it’s clear that it is a way forward, and other sports are wanting a slice of the pie.


There has long been an association with gambling and football. It’s one of the most bet on sports, both online and offline and the Saturday afternoon acca is as part and parcel of the beautiful game as a pie at half time is. Over the years that relationship has developed to the point where it’s an industry worth billions and seven out of 20 Premier League clubs has a betting brand as their main shirt sponsor. The proportion is much higher in the Championship and it’d be rare to find a top club across Europe that doesn’t have an official betting partner.


Premier League Clubs With Gambling Shirt Sponsors:


  • Burnley
  • Crystal Palace
  • Fulham
  • Leeds United
  • Newcastle United
  • West Ham United
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers


It’s meaning billions is being pumped into the game, and allowing the likes of the Premier League to grow. But is it a good thing?


Well, the large sums of money entering the game is of course a good thing for the sport. It means Premier League sides can buy the very best talent, and makes it an even more appealing product to fans across the world.


What’s more, the money is trickling down into the lower leagues. The Premier League has put in well over £300million into grassroots football via the Football Foundation over the past two decades, while there’s plenty more individual clubs put into the likes of local communities and supporting non-league clubs.


That will inevitably rise, particularly as more money filters into the game, both in the men’s and women’s game. The rise of the women’s game could see a similar relationship blossom, allowing other gambling brands to attract new audiences.


While brands such as Moon Bingo and other major gambling brands aimed more towards the female market, the rise of the Women’s Super League could be ideal for these brands. As you can see if you click here, bingo brands are much more designed for female players, and with the rise of female’s watching women’s football, we could start to see exclusive deals between the likes of bingo brands, casino sites, and of course bookmakers, with major teams such as Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United.


It’s undoubted clubs will be considering this as they start to bring more money into the women’s game, and with gambling already tied so neatly with football, it perhaps is a matter of when rather than if.



Some WSL teams already do have gambling sponsors, and more would certainly strengthen the women’s game, and similar to cricket help it cope and strengthen in particularly uncertain times.


The knock on effect is now that other sports are looking to benefit from a relationship with gambling brands. The major US sports are a prime example of this. The NBA announced a new betting partner earlier this year, and the likes of the NHL and MLB have also struck similar deals over the last 12 months or so.


For football, they continue to be a trailblazer in working with the industries. The FA Cup’s deal with a bookmaker to live stream games is something that the likes of the Premier League might look to follow in some capacity, while we may see entire betting platforms starting to be integrated into a club’s website or stream.


Who knows where the relationship can go from here, but one thing is for sure, there are areas that the bond will be strengthened in the coming months and years, and it’ll only see clubs, whether womens or mens, more financially stable too. And in a time when more clubs are struggling than ever before, that can only be good news for them.


Image: PA Images