Anorak News | Government wants to stop FA selling rights to betting companies

Government wants to stop FA selling rights to betting companies

by | 8th, January 2020

The Government is worried that people who look to the Football Association for moral direction are being let down by the organisation’s decision to sell FA Cup broadcast rights via a third party to Bet365. Nicky Morgan, for one was aghast. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport tweeted: “I hope they will reconsider.”

You can watch lots of dogs and horses racing along tracks in the bookies, as well as darts, tennis and squash. But something about football always upsets the righteous.

To watch the game on Bet365’s app or website, fans must first place a bet or deposit money into an account. In short, you pay. But unlike watching football, say, on the BBC, you pay and have a chance to win your money back or turn a profit. If that sounds a bit like an advert for gambling, it isn’t meant to be. And it’s way too subtle. Gambling adverts are loud. They challenge men to measure their worth by circling the plughole in a pissing contest with Ray Winstone, women to have ‘a bit of fun’ with a furry, and children tuning in to pre-watershed telly to know that betting is normal and synonymous with “good causes”.

Sports minister Nigel Adams tells us: “The gambling landscape has changed since this deal was signed in early 2017. All sports bodies need to be mindful of the impact that problem gambling can have on the most vulnerable.”

Does he mean that the “most vulnerable” who won’t watch the footy on the BBC – having paid a license fee on pain of law – but on the web? This is hard cheese on rough sleepers, the homeless and anyone in locked inside secure mental healthy facilities miles from home. The Government is not worried about those kind of vulnerables. It is worried about, well, who? And how serious is the Government about curtailing gambling?

According to one auditor, the UK betting industry is worth £6bn a year and employs 100,000 people. “The figures, equivalent to 0.5% of UK gross domestic product (GDP) and 0.3% of total UK employment respectively, are published in a study entitled The Full Picture commissioned by Ladbrokes to illustrate the industry’s value to the UK economy.”

A sizeable chunk of the cash goes to Bet365 founder Denise Coates, who paid herself £323m last year. All taxed. All honest. All above board. Which is more than you can say for a Government, which does business with all manner of interesting companies and unenlightened regimes but demands football and footballers teach the vulnerable the right path.

It’s almost as if they want us to talk about the easy stuff and avoid the bigger questions which should demand more attention.

Posted: 8th, January 2020 | In: News Comment | TrackBack | Permalink