Gambling and Sports: A Match Made in Heaven or a Toxic Relationship?

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Gambling is perhaps one of the most controversial businesses ever invented. While the activity itself has been part of our lives since before written history – the Great Wall of China has been said to have been partially funded through lotteries over 2000 years ago – its organized forms, especially those available through the internet, have sparked controversies all over the world. While some consider gambling online – no matter if it’s playing exciting online casino games at Wintingo, betting on sports, or engaging in an exciting game of poker – a rather innocent form of the activity, others oppose the very idea, presenting online casinos, betting shops, and poker rooms as devices of the destruction of society.

The truth, as you might expect, has many layers. The relationship between sports and gambling is complex, and can perhaps be best described as a “love-hate” one.

Love: Sponsorship, inspiration, entertainment

Many gambling games available online and in real life reach out to the world of sports for inspiration. The Wintingo Casino, for example, has a full range of sports-inspired slot machines, scratch cards, and other similar titles for its numerous players. Since the Wintingo is mostly aimed at a European audience, its range of sports games tends to reflect their tastes: among the sports that have inspired their games you’ll find numerous ball games like rugby and cricket but no American variants, like football and baseball. Ball games are not the only ones represented at the Wintingo, though – its library covers a variety of sports from wrestling (Andre the Giant) to illegal street racing (Racing for Pinks).

Let’s linger in the Old World for a bit more, and take a look at the relationship of online bookmakers and sports teams. Major betting groups routinely select soccer teams from the Premier League, one of the most followed soccer leagues in Europe, as targets for shirt sponsorship deals. This means exactly what it sounds like: the teams wear the logo of the betting group (or any other shirt sponsor) on their outfit, promoting the brand, in return for cash they can spend on acquiring talent from abroad, for example. And all parties – including the fans – are happy.

Last but not least, let’s take a look at something a bit closer to home: boxing. High-profile boxing matches are routinely held at casino resorts in Las Vegas. The Sin City has become the boxing capital of the world, attracting all eyes to its events. Vegas, the world capital of gambling, has spirited away the leading role in the world of boxing from New York in the 1960s, and it’s been a home to the biggest and most spectacular such events ever since.

Hate: match fixing

Nobody thinks major gambling groups pay athletes to shift the odds in their favor – this is a job for the illegal betting “industry”. Which is massive, by the way – it has an estimated value of up to $3 trillion worldwide. Such gambling rings are known to bribe and threaten players and referees to this day, corrupting the fair (and strictly regulated) world of sports.

Match fixing and sports corruption are not only frowned upon but also illegal. This doesn’t stop it from being a continuous threat looming above the world of sports even today.

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