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Click Bet - Bookmakers Hit the Jackpot

July 5, 2024

The number of sports betting sites exploded during the coronavirus pandemic. This business, which relies on people with a gambling addiction, is legally all above board.

Click Bet - Bookmakers Hit the Jackpot
Around 37 million Euros worth of bets are placed every day in Europe. The market has grown 40-fold over the past 20 years. Image: Java

But the sites are run by international companies that employ controversial methods.

Click Bet - Bookmakers Hit the Jackpot
Web carrier jersey: In the 2022/23 season, 9 out of 20 top league clubs in the UK played in jerseys with advertising for gambling companies. In France, it was even 11 out of 20 clubs.Image: Java

How can this billion-dollar business, whose influence extends into the worlds of sport and politics, be stopped? The sports betting sector generates huge revenues and profits by exploiting some of the weakest members of society. With impunity. Around 37 million Euros worth of bets are placed every day in Europe. The market has grown 40-fold over the past 20 years. 

Click Bet - Bookmakers Hit the Jackpot
Sports betting: This sometimes seemingly harmless pastime is gambling - and it can be addictive.Image: Java

This success isn’t a fad, but the result of a perfidious marketing strategy. Various platforms deluge the public sphere with betting incentives for every major sporting event: Continuous advertising loops, omnipresence on social networks, sponsorship of sports programs and football clubs, collaboration with sports stars and influencers. More and more people are becoming addicted to gambling because of this aggressive advertising. Some of them are driven to ruin, even suicide.

Click Bet - Bookmakers Hit the Jackpot
In France and the UK, sports betting providers have no restrictions on advertising, VIP programmes, free bets or sponsorship.Image: Java

Most internet platforms belong to one of five multinational companies. They operate largely unnoticed by the public, and use their money to finance sports clubs and political parties. Like the tobacco industry, they also work to promote addictive behavior. In France, 60 percent of their turnover comes from people with problematic gambling behavior. The companies do not shy away from manipulation, and sometimes even intervene in legislation. Health science is sounding the alarm and calling for government action, but most European countries are ignoring the problem.

Filmmaker Linda Bendali examined the practices of sports betting providers in Germany, France, Britain and Spain. By what means do they lure their victims? Who supports them? What can be done to counter their growing influence? Are governments and sports clubs prepared to take robust action, even if it means losing millions of Euros?

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