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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Aine Fo

Many football fans anxious about World Cup betting losses, poll suggests

PA Archive

More than a quarter of football fans say they feel anxious about how much they might lose while betting during the World Cup, according to a survey.

Six in 10 said they agreed there are too many gambling adverts during international tournaments, the research for charity GambleAware suggested.

The organisation said 43% of football fans plan to bet during this year’s World Cup, and among those 39% admitted that financial pressures might drive them to gamble more than intended.

GambleAware has launched a new campaign to help fans who gamble to avoid what they called “Bet Regret” in the coming weeks as betting promotions on social media and TV ramp up.

The campaign, backed by the Football Supporters Association (FSA) and former players including Peter Shilton, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Lee Hendrie, encourages people who bet to manage their behaviour by deleting apps and setting a spending limit.

Shilton, who struggled with gambling addiction for 45 years, delivers a team talk as part of a new film for the campaign.

He said his addiction took a “massive toll” financially and on his mental health, and credited his wife for her support throughout the ordeal.

Urging others to ask for help if they need it, he said: “I’ve seen first-hand how easy it can be to get carried away and place an impulsive bet, especially when betting promotions are all around you.

“I’d urge everyone to stop and think, is my gambling out of control? If so, reach out for support.”

More than half of people (56%) said it is easy to lose more money than expected, the survey from Opinium of 2,000 fans showed.

The results suggested that 28% of supporters said they felt anxious about how much they might lose in bets during the tournament, which begins in Qatar on Sunday.

GambleAware defined “Bet Regret” as the universal “sinking feeling” that people can experience after making an impulsive bet, often when drunk, bored or chasing losses.

Zoe Osmond, the charity’ chief executive, warned that cost-of-living pressures, as Christmas approaches, could lead to the “perfect storm” as people are tempted to gamble more.

As the cost of living-crisis bites and people feel the pinch in the run-up to Christmas, this could create a ‘perfect storm’ where fans resort to gambling as a way to cope
— Zoe Osmond, GambleAware

She said: “This should be an enjoyable time for all football fans, but with the sheer volume of football and the amount of betting ads, it can be easy to get carried away with betting – and we can see that many fans are already feeling anxious about this.

“As the cost of living-crisis bites and people feel the pinch in the run-up to Christmas, this could create a ‘perfect storm’ where fans resort to gambling as a way to cope.

“This can have the opposite effect, both financially and in terms of mental health.”

Gambling Minister Paul Scully welcomed the campaign “to help raise awareness of practical actions people can take to avoid gambling-related harms”.

He said the Government is undertaking a “comprehensive review” of current gambling laws “to ensure they are fit for the digital age, including considering the evidence on gambling advertising and marketing”.

Anyone concerned about their gambling, or that of a loved one, can visit for free, confidential advice and support, or The National Gambling Helpline is available on 0808 8020 133 and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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