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David Wheeler on Gambling in Football in the Guardian



  • A couple of years ago, I was approached by a chap who was having problems with gambling.

    He had an account with a well-known firm with a chain of betting shops, and an online betting site, and had lost hundreds of £££s. He had asked them to close his account, which they did, but they then bombarded him by email and text with 'special offers' and 'free' bets. So he lost even more money.

    I sent the firm a Letter Before Action on his behalf, stating that they should have deleted his personal data when closing the account, and that by continuing to process his data, they were in breach of the Data Protection Act. The letter demanded compensation in the sum of £750, failing which Court proceedings would be issued.

    They paid up without a fight.

  • Anyone know if we're contractually obliged to have Jeff Stelling shilling for a betting company in every ad break on WanderersTV?

  • Wanderers TV is licensed by the EFL, with warnings of dire consequences if it is shown in public places such as pubs, clubs etc.

    So I would imagine that there is a contractual obligation to show Sky Bet ads during the breaks.

  • It's a bit like those silly badges on the shirt sleeves, might be an old fashioned take but if I'm paying (plenty) for it I don't really want all the advertising.

  • I think you actually have to pay extra to get sleeve badges.

  • You do, I got some championship ones when we went up, one was heavily sponsored, the other was a warning about the advert.

  • Like the little angel and devil on the shoulders in a Tom and Jerry cartoon.

  • Ivan Toney claims he was never 'educated about the rules' of gambling as a pro footballer. I'd have thought not being allowed to bet against your own club would be fairly fkn obvious?

  • I get that footballers may never read a newspaper or FA guidelines but surely someone in the dressing room might have mentioned it...or the management pre-season at least at one of his clubs?

  • At a company I worked for someone fell off a rotating office chair they were standing on to change a light bulb - rather than using a small ladder which was available - hurting their arm in the process.

    When she tried to claim sick pay she was denied as it was deemed to be her fault. She said noone had ever told her standing on a chair was against the rules (not to mention it being stupid).

  • Gambling can be fun, it really can. Who doesn't love a flutter on the Grand National? I quite enjoy backing Ryan Tafazoli to score on a regular basis. My £2 slides away most weeks. But my personality like most is not one that is hooked on the buzz of that win. Like most people don't have a problem with alcohol, but the reality is some people do and we protect the better.

    And for those people who struggle with gambling having gambling ads shone at them ever angle they watch football is triggering and must be horrible. The gaming companies are not hoping you are going to do a £2 bet on our Iranian Prince to score a header, they want you banging away on spins on some virtual machine linked to your bank account. The fun sporting bets are gateways, whatever they tell you.

    Just check their profits. We eradicated tobacco marketing and should do the same with gambling.

  • It still amazes me that if you're any good at the gambling lark, they shut down your account and tell you to take your business elsewhere.

    Is Farage on the case?

  • Do you think footballers should be educated about the rules around gambling?

  • Yes, but I also think they should take responsibility for their own actions when they've clearly been a bit stupid.

  • So, a valid point for him to raise then?

    I'm amazed if it's true that they get no guidance. Would seem to be a huge flaw in their safeguarding process to me

  • Yes and no. He was betting against his own team - I'm sure there are grey areas around the rules of gambling as a footballer, but that shouldn't be one of them to anyone with half a braincell.

  • You agree that footballers should receive education/guidance around the rules on gambling, but you don't think it's a valid point to raise that they don't receive any?

    It's unclear from that tweet to what extent, if any, he accepts responsibility for his punishment. I am definitely going to listen to it though.

  • Yes, it's a valid point. Yes, they should receive education, but certain things - like betting against your own team being a big no-no - should be bloody obvious, so I don't have much sympathy for him in that respect.

  • I don't believe for a second that Toney received no guidance on the rules around betting for footballers.

  • In fact, I'd bet he was educated about it every single time a high profile player got a gambling ban.

  • edited August 21

    If you set aside a fairly weak attempt to shift blame, he has some points; the clubs, agents, the PFA and FA should have this right at the top of the list of issues to both warn about and try to help with.

    Like most though I find it very hard to believe they don't do this. The hearing would have heard that as a legal argument but taken a dim view if they thought he didn't read info sent to him or attend/pay attention in meetings. Also can't believe they don't watch their ex colleagues on YouTube talking about this on a daily basis.

  • Ivan Toney is not the first footballer to get caught up betting and to be punished. So claiming he was unaware of the rules is claiming an extraordinary level of ignorance in his own profession. It's also a bit of a slap in the face to his own union

  • Seems pretty clear, although he might have struggled like me to get past the holding image at the top, very amateur.

  • edited August 21

    Gambling companies do not make millions a year out of people who like a little flutter and can easily stick to their spending limits in the same way fag companies did not become massively rich and powerful off the back of people who liked the odd silk cut with a beer...

  • Thanks for posting that @ryan_w_kirkby2 - glad you've got your life back.

  • edited August 21

    Indeed, thank you @ryan_w_kirkby2, I recognise much of what you said though I have never had an interest in gambling but have had a lifelong battle with alcohol, though have managed to stay dry for coming up 32 years now, having said that I have to always remember that one is too many & two is never enough; so I studiously avoid the first one these days.

  • edited August 21

    It's like when you're growing up and you first hear your parents tell you that ignorance of the rules isn't an alibi in the law.

    Or that having a slightly faulty speedometer doesn't get you off speeding.

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