The World Cup and the betting market… Billions in numbers and moral controversy

With the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar underway, the betting market is bubbling over the biggest sporting event on earth.

FIFA has estimated the amount of spending in the betting market on the sidelines of the 2018 World Cup in Russia to have reached $156 billion. Gambling companies are hoping for a bigger recovery for this year’s tournament, despite the ban on betting in Qatar.

Ali Rabie, an academic and sports journalist, says: “The World Cup, as a sports competition, attracts betting enthusiasts.”

According to Statista figures, a German company specialized in providing statistical services to its clients, 90 percent of betting operations that took place between 2017 and 2021 targeted football matches.

Billion mark

Speaking to Al-Hurra, Rabih described that the World Cup attracts betting enthusiasts from all over the world is not “strange”, especially as gambling companies open the door to bet on all matches and offer different temptations.

The group stage matches in the World Cup have come within the interface of most of the international betting companies’ websites as they prepared to receive their customers from all over the world.

In the United States, some 20.5 million Americans are expected to bet on the outcome of the 2022 World Cup as legal sports betting flourishes, according to CBS News. According to estimates from the American Gaming Association, betting in the United States alone is expected to reach $1.8 billion.

Bets operate in different ways and offer numerous chances to win and redeem, some of them very complex.

Betting sites offer various opportunities, including predicting the winning team of the World Cup and predicting the outcome of the matches, while the odds are more difficult by completely accurately determining the outcome or identifying the goal scorers and the runs in which the goals were scored, for example, or even predicting the first player to open the scoring in a specific match.

Rabih said that this represented “temptations”, proving the issue of “considering the bettor a winner if the team he selected advances during the first half, meaning he does not need to wait for the end of the match to win the bet.”

The percentage of profit increases when a person bets on an unexpected outcome, and the percentage of winning can multiply hundreds of times. This comes as an encouragement to gambling companies to lose nominations, even if they are worth one dollar.

“Controversial Subject and Moral Implications”

Although legal in Western countries, most Arab countries prohibit this type of betting.

Rabie said: “Betting is a controversial issue and also has legal, ethical and religious implications. Even in some countries that allow betting legally, the authorities try to put some restrictions on the betting market,” even if some of them are formal . , as he described it.

The restrictions are represented in “posting a warning about the dangers of betting or setting up communication phones to help bettors stop this habit,” says Rabih.

He pointed out that “unless the bettor or the betting process is involved in determining the outcome of the match, such as the payment of a bribe to a player or a referee, there are no legal consequences against the bettor, taking into account other laws.”

Speaking to CNBC, Keith White, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, the oldest gambling organization in the US, called gambling a “hidden addiction.”

Americans often identify with drug use because of the physical effects the substances can have on someone’s body, but “there are no substances in gambling, so people misunderstand it as a matter of morality or weakness of will,” said White.

Marketing ban claims

However, critics of this phenomenon believe that governments should put stricter restrictions on betting, especially since the biggest companies attract shiny sports names to advertise for them.

“The flood of gambling advertising around the World Cup will lead to addiction for many people,” said Tom Fleming, a spokesman for a British charity founded in 2018 by families bereaved by gambling-related suicide.

“No one, let alone ex-footballers, should be promoting highly addictive products, which is why the government must end all gambling advertising and marketing,” he added.

Big football names such as Harry Redknapp, Peter Crouch and Robbie Keane have helped promote betting on World Cup matches for gambling companies.

Rabih was of the opinion that the betting companies that turn to famous names to promote them come within a “commercial” framework with the aim of attracting the largest possible number of customers.

He said, “In recent years we have seen the transformation of betting companies to sponsor sports clubs and players who have weight in the world of sports … Betting attracts tens of billions of dollars annually, so it is not surprising that betting companies are carefully in their advertising to take a share of this money.”

He added, “These ads, which are heavily spent, are usually beautiful, innovative and promote victory, victory, joy and collective spirit to drive the largest possible number of followers to bet.”

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