Will the World Cup Increase Gambling Harm?

A new survey from Opinium has revealed that 61% of football fans believe too many gambling ads are shown during major tournaments.

39% of fans who are likely to be placing bets on the Qatar tournament said that they believe they might gamble more than intended. Financial pressures are a reason for this possibly taking place.

This month has seen GambleAware launch their ‘Bet Regret’ campaign. It offers help to those struggling with their gambling amid fears of how the World Cup could increase gambling harm.

The campaign has received the backing of the Football Supporters Association (FSA). Former players Peter Shilton, Lee Hendrie and Shaun Wright-Phillips are also supporting the ‘Bet Regret’ campaign.

It’s feared that the upcoming World Cup combined with the cost-of-living crisis may lead to an increase in gambling harm. The growing number of adverts by gambling companies is probably just the lull before the storm with the tournament beginning on November 20.

The survey questioned 2,000 football fans and 56% said that it was easier to lose more money than anticipated. 28% were anxious about the possible gambling losses that may be incurred during the tournament in Qatar.

The Chief Executive of GambleAware is Zoë Osmond. Speaking about the campaign, she said that the World Cup “should be an enjoyable time for all football fans.” However, the “sheer volume of football and the amount of betting ads” may spoil that. “It can be easy to get carried away with betting – and we can see that many fans are already feeling anxious about this.”

Her fear is that there could be a “perfect storm” caused by the tournament, the current economic crisis and Christmas being just around the corner. This could see “fans resort to gambling as a way to cope.” That could lead to financial and mental health problems.

Bet Regret is described by the chief executive as “the sinking feeling you get after making a bet you wish you hadn’t.” Taking steps such as deleting apps and limiting how much you bet or how long you are on gambling sites can “help fans enjoy the football this winter without feeling stress or anxiety around gambling.”

New Gambling Minister (one of several this year) has welcomed the GambleAware campaign. He believes that their advice can “help raise awareness of practical actions people can take to avoid gambling-related harms.” He briefly mentioned the “most comprehensive review of gambling laws in 15 years” but did not mention when the much-delayed White Paper will be released. Surely sometime during the World Cup would be a good idea?