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Sports Wagering

Love conquers all, right? And love of the game should conquer all objections as to whether or not sports wagering helps or harms the growth of sports in the UK. Yet despite the massive funds spent by the major bookmaking firms in support of local teams and larger matches, sports wagering is still viewed skeptically by many people.

It seems that folks fail to realize that the match being played on the tube 2,000 miles away is in no way affected by whether or not I’ve got a fiver on the outcome. No, these folks seem to think that sports wagering is in some way corrupting the sport, ruining the pure joy of play. It’s as though they think that those football players are out there for the pure joy of it, and not the millions.

The next argument is that by allowing sports wagering to be widely accepted, we are opening up the country for financial ruin as hordes of addicted gamblers lose everything and end up on out the streets. Ah, spare me! If the boys down at Canary Wharf aren’t steering us to financial ruin, the less than 1% of all gamblers who can be classified as addicted certainly aren’t going to do the trick. According to the Gambling Commission, 68% of Britons gamble, and it hasn’t killed us yet.

Another misperception is that the numbers of punters engaged in sports wagering is getting worse. Actually, all that is happening is that sports wagering is becoming better known. With advertisements online and off, the betting exchanges and bookmaking firms have made themselves into household names if they weren’t already. Yet, the number of Britons engaged in gambling is actually down 4% since the last Prevalence report. Thus, simply because there is a sign at the bus stop for a bookmaker in the morning does not mean that the youth of Briton are going to turn into gambling addicts by sundown.

No, extremism and wringing of hands are really not appropriate when it comes to sports wagering. While it is true that the bookmaking firms and betting exchanges profit from the losses of punters, no one forces anyone to lay odds. The entertainment value is enough for most, although a big win is the dream of many. Hope springeth eternal, as they say. If a little sports wagering helps keep hope alive and teams afloat, then by all means let us keep it going out of the pure joy of having a game on and a team to cheer for!

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