Ivan Toney and more | My week in iGaming

Ivan Toney and more | My week in iGaming
Simon Wooldridge
by Simon Wooldridge Last updated:

2 April 2024

Time flies, doesn’t it? It's been over 2 months since my last ‘weekly’ iGaming blog! Smacked wrist time. So let’s think of this particular blog as more like ‘reflections on the last couple of months’.

‘You should’ve cashed out, you should’ve cashed out…!’

Despite my ‘away fan’ status at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 31 January for Brentford’s visit, I had to have a little chuckle during the second half. Brentford took a 15th minute lead – a goal set-up by recent returnee Ivan Toney. Toney, as many will know, was banned from playing for 8 months for football betting (including games involving his own clubs). 

Anyway,  within 10 minutes of the second half starting Tottenham had turned things around dramatically to lead 3-1. ‘Ivan Toney, you should’ve cashed out! Ivan Toney, you should’ve cashed out!’ sang the Tottenham fans,

Toney is one of several players featured in our recently updated Footballers Known for Gambling blog. 

Glamour and testosterone

The following week I was back in London again for my first ICE/iGB conference. Still new-ish to the industry it was a fascinating, eye-opening few days for me. There were certainly higher levels of both glamour and testosterone in evidence at the ExCel centre than other industry conferences I’ve attended over the years! Having lived outside the country for a long time it was also quite interesting to visit Custom House in London’s East End – somewhere not many outsiders would have ventured to in the London I grew up in.

I attended some really interesting talks at iGB and had lots of great chats with industry people, including some of the folks at PlayFrank, Sigma, L&L Europe, PlayOJO, SkillOnNet and others.

Malta – the gambling ‘hub’ in the sun

Malta beckoned me for a week’s well-earned holiday in early March. I knew it was a ‘hub’ in our industry, but I didn’t realise quite how much of one. Our LinkedIn page has more followers in Sliema, Malta than it has in London. And St Julians in Malta sits in 4th place in the list.

Nanny state overreach, part 147

Every year we see the insidious creep of government nanny state overreach. But this was a new one for me. Sheffield City Council has decided that its citizens need protection from ‘harmful advertising’ (which includes gambling, as well as, predictably, fast food). Don’t they realise most of their citizens (certainly the council tax paying ones) are adults and perfectly capable of making their own decisions? And to be honest, having visited Sheffield a few times in the last 18 months the truth is that some colourful advertising around the place would actually raise Steel City's aesthetics. 

And a final note on this article, it’s remarkable they found such an obliging and eloquent local resident to talk to: “Sheffield Council has a bold history of leading change, and I am delighted that they have taken this opportunity to creatively imagine a better city. A city where commercial gain takes a backseat to community values…” said Annie Feetham. Apparently.

The Gentlemen

Everyone, well loads of people at least (including Slot Gods’ designer-in-chief, Alex) seems to have been binge-watching Netflix’s The Gentlemen recently. And with good reason I’d say, after watching the first few. Episode one hinges largely on the outcome of a £2m bet on an unlicensed fight. Oh, and there’s plenty of scenes involving expensive-looking shotguns. But this is Guy Ritchie, after all, and shotguns seem to be his thing. 

And Netflix seems to have a pretty good track record bringing gambling to life on the screen. A win-win then?

The Dogs

I’m not sure the last time I went to The Dogs. I think it was Romford before the first lockdown. It’s a shame to see this once great British tradition declining and in this state, with annual total attendance reaching a low of 115,000 in 2021, down from 500,000 in 2018, 1.1m in 2008 and a reported 75m in 1946! 

Even so, it was nice to get out on an early Spring Friday night at The Dogs in Nottingham. Twenty quid, in total, across 4 races was the sum of my investment at the 500M track – backing the likes of Tory Megan, Dark Debbie, MasonMonkeyMac and Hitman Marshall took me back to a different era. If you have any interest in the cultural and social history of this country then it might be advisable to get along to a greyhound meeting one evening while you still can.

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Simon Wooldridge
by Simon Wooldridge Last updated:

Simon’s long-term fascination with slots started with teasing 40p worth of change from the skilful spinning of 10p coins into a fruit machine in the last century. This has grown recently to a solid appreciation for the often dazzling artistry, imagination and mechanics of modern online slots.