‘It matters more when there is money on it’ is a dangerous indoctrination | David Conn

Relentless marketing, advertising and sponsorship by betting companies is exposing fans to the threat of a gambling addiction on an unprecedented scale and needs curtailingJoey Barton, whose football career was in effect ended early by his suspension last year for gambling, now says the ban on players betting is hypocritical given the game’s dependence on gambling sponsorship and that half of all players could be breaching the rule anyway. He sharply made that point at the time of his 18-month ban last April, later reduced to 13 months; pointing out the Football Association, which solemnly imposed the suspension on him, was sponsored by Ladbrokes. Barton argues the rule, which is aimed at preventing match-fixing, is too absolute, because players like him casually or even addictively gambling on matches are a world away from taking money to throw or fix games. But given huge wages and match-fixing’s existential danger, there be no moves to relax the rules. The FA and leagues may see Barton’s protest as a sign the ban is hurting, so it must be working. Continue reading...