8 December 2023
This is first in a sporadic series of blogs from the team at Slot Gods – ruminating and speculating on industry topics with a bit of life-in-general thrown in for good measure.
What odds would you get on that?
I started last week reflecting on the 38 goals scored in the Premier League over the weekend of 2 and 3 December. 38! Is that a record? Not sure, but the 24 that rattled in across the Sunday’s 5 games was confirmed as a Sunday goals record. And this is part of an overall upward goals trend in English professional football. Good for fans, good for TV and some thinking to do for those who like a punt on these kinds of things.
On the subject of odds though, I wonder how many variations and permutations we’re going to see in the next year or so when it comes to who our next Prime Minister will be. And also, just how toxic the race will get once the media really get to work on it.
Gambling Commission opens ‘dobline’
My Monday last week started working on some revisions to one of our website pages, but I was soon distracted by an email about the Gambling Commission launching a confidential reporting service. The new service is aimed at getting people to report suspicious activity and behaviour within the industry to one central point. ‘Suspicious’ includes, according to the email: ‘match fixing and betting integrity, underage gambling, money laundering concerns, suspicious activity and unlicensed gambling or criminal activity’. All very laudable, I thought, but that’s one helluva of a remit. A couple of 16-year-olds sneaking into a casino or using a dodgy ID to register online and frittering away a tenner here and there is quite different to the broader brush stroke (and potentially whole bigger ball game) of ‘match fixing’ or ‘money laundering’ – both of which we would usually expect to see talked about in the same breath as ‘organised crime’.
Illegal gambling increasing
And also in last Monday’s inbox: French illegal gambling worth up to €1.5bn per year, from a PwC study. Wow! That’s a lot of wedge. France’s gambling regulatory body, l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), reported more than 500 active illegal websites in operation. A big concern is that nearly 80% of the revenue generated by these illegal sites comes from problem gamblers. This report comes hot on the heels of similar concerns in Sweden and Germany. And it naturally raises concerns within our shores about the potential impact of suggested heavy restrictions on slot stakes as my colleague Paul Clare so level-headedly assesses in this recent article. Regulatory bodies in all 4 countries (and further beyond, no doubt) need to find a balance between sensible regulation and overreach, because if the overreach is a step or 2 too far the implications are significant – with both player safety and government tax revenues heading the concerns list.
More problem gambling or more people opening up about it?
Gamcare recently reported an increase in contact from people concerned about their gambling. Calls and online chats with Gamcare’s National Gambling Helpline rose to just over 44,000, the highest on record and an increase of nearly 5% (March 2022 vs March 2023).
The stats were released a few weeks ago but I’m still a bit blown away by the increase.
Has problem gambling increased that much in that time or are more people prepared to talk about it? This one will run and run.
Word of the year
This week I also found out what the word of the year is and, importantly, what it means.
'Rizz' is the Oxford Word of the Year. It denotes style, charm, or attractiveness and with particular regard to attracting a romantic or sexual partner. It’s a young uns word apparently – TikTok Generation and all that. It comes from ‘charisma’ apparently, though. what’s wrong with using ‘charismatic’. I’m not sure… Maybe at 11 letters and 4 syllables it’s a bit too long?
And finally back to sports and odds. 2016 was an interesting year. Leicester City won the Premier League having been 5000/1 with some bookies before the season started. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years, but at surprisingly short odds (11/1 before the season started in a competition of 30 teams) for a team in such a drought. And down under in Australia perennial Aussie Rules underdogs, the Western Bulldogs, won the Premiership (18 teams) having started the season at 16/1 but drifting out to 67/1 when it came to the last 8 teams playing out the finals series in the last month.
And the moral of this... you never know when it might be worth having a flutter.