Handbook on the Economics of Professional Football
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Handbook on the Economics of Professional Football

Edited by John Goddard and Peter Sloane

In this comprehensive Handbook, John Goddard and Peter Sloane present a collection of analytical contributions by internationally regarded scholars in the field, which extensively examine the many economic challenges facing the world's most popular team sport.
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Chapter 23: Football and betting

David Forrest


Football and betting are clearly products with mutually dependent demands. For example, a football match can be made more exciting and watchable for ‘neutral’ television viewers if they are able to give themselves a stake in the outcome by placing a wager on one of the teams. In general terms, therefore, the demand for football should be enhanced if sports betting becomes more acceptable or more accessible or more popular. Thus, while it is obvious that the football industry generates a positive externality for the betting sector by providing a programme of popular events on which bets can be placed, it must also be recognised that it in turn receives a positive externality from the betting firms to the extent that the two goods are complementary in consumption. Thus, football is likely to derive some benefit from the betting interest which surrounds it. Despite this, there have historically been considerable tensions between the two sectors. Partly, this can be explained by the potential for disputes concerning property rights and whether, for example, football should be paid for the use of its fixture lists by betting firms. However, additional tension stems from the indisputable fact that the football industry receives not only a benefit but also a cost from associated betting activity.

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