A survey conducted by Opinium Research on behalf of GambleAware has delved into football fans’ opinions on betting ahead of the FIFA World Cup.
Published today, six days prior to kickoff in Qatar, the study highlighted increased concerns among football supporters about the links between betting and the sport.
Just under two thirds of respondents (64%) stated that there ‘are too many gambling advertisements in football’, whilst 61% thought that the two sectors ‘are increasingly’ intertwined’ and 56% said that it is easier to lose more bets than intended during events such as the World Cup.
A further 61% said that there are too many gambling advertisements during international football tournaments, and 63% agreed that it is right that international teams are not allowed betting shirt sponsors.
This latter viewpoint could be of greatest significance due to the potential outcomes of the 2005 Gambling Act review, the White Paper on which is still overdue for publication.
A ban on betting shirt sponsorships has been widely considered a strong possible outcome of the legislative process, although proposed restrictions were somewhat watered down when the Premier League entertained negotiations with the government and its 20 clubs in July.
Opinium’s survey also examined other aspects of football fans relationship with betting around the World Cup, finding that special odds deals, in-play offers and notifications from gambling apps were more likely to incentivise bettors to gamble, at 53%, 48% and 39% respectively.
Outside of bookmaker marketing and offers, however, 45% and 44% of respondents said that they will spend more ‘if they got carried away in the moment’ or were chasing losses.
Additionally, 39% said that increased financial pressure around Christmas and rising living costs would motivate them to bet more on the World Cup in the hopes of supplementing their income.
This shows some similarity to statistics in GamCare’s annual report, which showed that 64% of the treatment services’ users cited chasing losses as reason for gambling, followed by escapism and boredom at 33% and financial difficulties at 32%.
On the costs of living, however, the survey noted that 16% of football fans said that they would gamble more because of rising costs, in comparison to 35% who said that they would reduce their gambling.
On the other hand, the concerns of group’s such as GambleAware and GamCare were backed up by the stat that 33% of fans have used betting to supplement their income, including 14% who have used it to cover basic living costs.
Despite concerns regarding the costs of living crisis, football betting engagement has remained consistent over the past year, as 29% of fans stated that they had placed a wager on the sport in the past 12 months.
For the World Cup, 43% have stated that they will likely place a bet on the tournament, with 18-34 year olds ‘even more likely to place a bet’ at 58% – falling in line with recent UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) stats which showed increasing participation in gambling among younger consumers.
The timing of the tournament, coupled with alleged encouragement to gamble, appears to be feeling a sense of anxiety among football fans – 25% said that they feel pressured to bet and 24% feel that they may regret spending too much.
An additional 28% said that they feel ‘at least a little anxious thinking about how much they might lose betting on the World Cup’, whilst 28% stated that they ‘feel like they can’t enjoy the World Cup’ without betting, and 34% said they wished betting on the World Cup wasn’t allowed.
With the Gambling Act review White Paper due soon, alongside the tournament – most years a major earner for bookmakers – taking place just before Christmas and at a time of heavy financial pressure for many, the outcomes of the World Cup from an industry perspective could be indicative of future trends.
Debating the tournament at the SBC Summit Barcelona earlier this year, a convergence of operator opinions were unveiled regarding customer acquisition and retention – some positive and some pessimistic.