The world was running on high stakes in 2014. Among the main headlines, such as “Russia Annexes Crimea” and “Ebola Strikes West Africa”, a governmental clampdown on the gambling sector in the UK was sending a ripple of discontent through the ranks of the top eight tiers of the football English league.
The Football Association had just issued a new worlwide ban on all professional players and coaches in English football- they wouldn’t be allowed to bet on any incoming matches or football-related matters.
The new regulations were meant to water down the appetite for mixing sports and gambling and stomp on the improper, yet secular and mafia-profitable tradition of match-fixing.
Gambling addiction and bankruptcy were also cause for concern. In the UK alone, punters on a losing streak were at a record high, with the average gambler registering losses of up to £286 per year.
But the legal arbiters drawing the new framework of gambling never mentioned Premier League football club owners, many of whom sport vested interests and financial gains from the outcomes of international matches.
Major football club owners and their sports betting ties
Tony “The Lizard” Bloom going all in
Football clubs receiving sponsorships from betting firms is accepted practice in the UK. A sports team owner can legally and morally moonlight as high-rolling gambler or as a Las Vegas poker player.
Such crossbreds exist all along the Premier League money-spinning fauna. Tony Bloom, chairman of Brighton & Hove Albion (the East Sussex newcomers in the League) also goes by his poker alias, “The Lizard.”
While his business interests lie in spruiking his club up the ladder of the best-known league in soccer, his lavish night ventures as a salient gambler take him behind the curtains, right in the courtyard of the bookmakers.
Matthew Benham’s dabble in sports management
Among other tycoons who juggle both the analytics of sports management and data-driven betting syndicates, Matthew Benham, owner of two football clubs- the English Brentford and the Danish Midtjylland– operates from behind the mists of the gambling industry.
The multi-millionaire owns two companies that provide their customers with crystal ball-type forecast and evaluation of the sports betting market.
Smartodds keeps in tune to the statistical shifts, and the trials and tribulations that operate within the fixed odds betting terminals while Matchbook offers insight as a popular sports exchange community in Europe.
The Coates clan and Bet365
Mathematical modelling seems to be the forte of the Coates family as well. Bet365, one of the biggest betting platforms on the continent runs as a family-owned business.
In addition to the site, the major shareholders Denise Coates, her brother John and father Peter have high stakes in the English Premier League Stoke City FC.
What Is data-driven betting analytics?
To the core, this highly digitalized field is all about acquiring eyes and ears in every significant corner of the world.
While the desk crew of software developers and math sharks are busy calculating the odds and weighing the probabilities on screen, scouts and inside men are monitoring the situation on the ground- a player sustaining injuries during practice or a feud between coaches- and sending in regular reports to be later used as cutting edge technology.
The online gambling side of the industry that swerves towards games of chance, such as the popular repository of casino bonus codes takebonus.com, will rely less on intuition and more on hard facts if they want to hit the jackpot in business.
The gambler’s fallacy belongs to the player, the house edge- to the bookmakers, of course.
Should there be a rule 21 in the Premier League?
In the English Premier League, the playground for the rich and restless, there is no rule 21.
The American strict polarization between gambling and baseball that oversees the two activities remaining on parallel courses is not likely to cross the ocean into the European courtyard.
Sports betting is an extremely lucrative market, and one that’s expected to supersede horse racing and online pokies as the highest revenue gambling activity.
The FA acknowledges the apparent conflict of interests, but says unpublished rules and penalties are set in place to prevent club owners with an open tab in the betting books from stacking the cards in their favor.
The spirit of fair game, they say, is intact. And, after all, they can’t help the free market outgunning ethical concerns.