Bolton Blog Zone

Bolton’s Betting Ban Is No Gamble

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Bolton have attracted a lot of attention today, on an international scale.

When that’s happened in the past, or when you’ve seen ‘Bolton’ trend on Twitter, the first reaction has generally been ‘oh what now?’ – but we’re in much better hands these days and today’s betting news shows that.

In case you missed it, Wanderers are cutting all links with betting companies, where practical. We won’t be seeking betting companies as sponsors, nor will be there betting facilities inside the ground. The usual Lifeline and presumably the recently introduced Golden Goal game will remain, plus obviously the league is sponsored by SkyBet, and unilaterally, there isn’t anything we can do about that, and the club has acknowledged that, with new CEO Neil Hart saying, “We recognise that some people do want to bet and also that the league has a commercial partnership with a gambling company in place – and we are respectful of this. However, we will not take part in any activity to promote gambling outside the existing EFL contractual requirements.”

As well as the conscientiousness side of it, at the end of the day, it’s excellent PR for the club, it might well also be that we’re just getting in there now. There have been stories about a possible ban on betting advertising on shirts, while surveys have suggested most of the public support such a move. Myself, I enjoy the odd small bet, and a logo on a shirt doesn’t frankly bother me. But there is the argument against it.

There are certain bookies online, who might spot a customer who has lost a lot on sports betting, and are then all too happy to push them down the slots/casino route. It puts it in a slightly different ballpark to alcohol and fast food advertising. Try getting a pint in a pub if you can barely stand after too many, while you won’t see McDonald’s specifically targeting fat people.

Then you have the dubious offshore betting companies, and the money laundering links some of them bring.

But another weird thing has been the whataboutery from some others. Does a Rotherham/Arsenal/Birmingham fan need to care enough about our club doing an undeniably positive thing to make a smart comment on social media? It’s a decision for our club to make and for our fans to accept or not, and the fans of other clubs can stay in their lane.

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