It is interesting that 100 years ago today the British House of Commons gave the third reading to a law to control gambling on football matches – a law introduced by Arsenal chairman and MP for Fulham, Sir Henry Norris.
And yet here we are exactly 100 years later with there still being much gnashing of teeth about football’s involvement with, and we might say utter dependence on, gambling. In any one season it is most likely that over half of the Premier League will have a gambling firm as a major sponsor.
Indeed for the last ten years the Gambling Commission has been gathering information about gambling among children in secondary school. According to research gathered in 2017, 12% of 11 to 15 year olds surveyed said they had gambled in the last week.
Part of the problem in the UK is that although there is an Advertising Standards Authority which monitors the content of adverts, there is no organisation that goes out to monitor the number of advertisements that appear. Indeed the Gambling Act 2005 provides for the promotion of gambling as a legitimate leisure activity.
Here are the anniversaries.
11 June 1920: The third reading in Parliament of Sir Henry Norris’ anti-gambling legislation. At this time bookmakers would hand out coupons on the street for punters to complete. At one Liverpool match in 1915 138,500 coupons were handed out and 79,000 were returned with money. With Liverpool players found guilty of match fixing Parliament felt it was time to act.
11 June 1925: Herbert Chapman became the manager of Arsenal, replacing Leslie Knighton who had been manager since the resumption of football after the first world war. Chapman went on to become the manager who gave Arsenal its first Championships, and its first FA Cup triumph before his untimely death.
11 June 2002: Despite Vieira and Wiltord playing, World Cup holders France went out of the competition to Denmark in South Korea.
11 June 2009: Arsenal opened an Arsenal shop in Bahrain as part of the deal with Emirates Airlines.
11 June 2012: Sylvain Wiltord retired from football. In 2015, he competed on the reality show Dropped, which puts sportspeople in inhospitable environments. The day after his elimination from the programme, three contestants died in a helicopter collision. Wiltord played 104 league games for Arsenal and 526 league games all told.