Sports and betting have been walking hand in hand for centuries, but none of them as prominently as footballs, or as Americans say – soccer. The only sport powerful enough to stop the world, and make it watch 22 players chasing a ball, is more than a game. It is a business worth billions. And everyone wants their slice of this yummy cake, yet none more than the betting industry.
Betting has been an essential part of football, ever since some Chinese guy saw his friends playing cuju, and decided to entertain the views with the chance to win money, by picking a winner. From ancient China to FIFA is a long way, but Anna Rosak, a gaming expert from Poland, wholeheartedly agrees the love is strong and blooming:
“Nowadays, you can play soccer bets or in fact any of your favorite games for money on different sites and with different bookies, such as those you’ll find here https://polskiekasynohex.org/kasyna-online/legalne-kasyna/. You no longer have to have “your guy” or even visit the stadium, at least not in most parts of the world.”
Although the relationship between football and betting is a true romance, frequently in the past it was a rather turbulent relationship.
“Betting is as old as humankind, and so is football. People have been kicking things for fun ever since they learned how to walk on two feet. However, while the sports had a good reputation for growing body and mind, gambling often had negative connotations”, honest is Rosak.
The biggest switch in the discourse, happened relatively recently, after the rise of online gaming. It is only then that most countries put effort into making things regulated, which definitely helped the betting industry to evolve into a legit industry.
“Some other sports, like horse races, have had a regulated relationship with betting since the early 20th century, when licensed bookies operated on the courses in the very similar manner as they do today. Football, on the other hand, had a more complex relationship with it. It is still changing, depending on where you focus your attention”, explains the betting specialist.
Namely, in many countries worldwide, it is natural to bet on football from the comfort of your own home. In others, you have to be physically located in the stadium, just like in the old days.
“The main reason why so many countries have issues with the football and betting pairing is corruption scandals that have been shaking the world of international competitions. FIFA, the biggest organization in football, has a long history of bribery and money laundering, so you can only imagine what happens in minor leagues”, says Rosak, alluding to fixed matches, revealing secret information, and selling data.
The proportions of such accusations are gigantic. The FIFA 2022 Word Cup will be remembered for many things, a corruption scandal being one of them. Apparently, author and political affairs expert Amjad Taha implies that several players from Ecuador got offered hefty bribes to lose the opening match against Qatar.
“Can you imagine what such actions and information could do for punters? Those who have access to them could win millions, others who would reasonably bet on favourites would lose the money. Let’s not forget to mention that FIFA referees have also been involved in major bribe scandals that involved match-fixing”, reveals Rosak.
She adds that one of the most recent ones of the kind happened in 2019, but the question remains how many of them remained swept under the carpet?
One aspect where betting and football go together like peas and carrots is sponsorships. Most leagues in football allow betting sites to sponsor clubs. Some of them can be prominently displayed on jerseys, and others only on side ads, and during selected hours. Rosak claims the variety in policies causes many issues.
“For instance, when FC Celtic plays in Spain where such sponsorships are banned, it gets quite tricky. There are expectations to be fulfilled, yet no one wants to risk a fine”, adds the gambling author.
Anna continues how certain groups believe gambling sponsorships, no matter how lucrative for the team, have a negative effect as they introduce young audiences to gaming brands. She admits it is a battle with no clear winner, and only time can tell where things will go from here.
“At the same time, we witness markets becoming more conservative, while others open and explore the options. The image can change only within a year or two, thus making it harder to predict what will happen”, Anna is open.
One thing she holds true, no matter what is that the relationship between football and betting will prevail over all the obstacles: “Even if they ban it altogether, people will bet on football one way or another.”