There is no doubt that many football fans have certain matchday traditions they follow when they go to support their team. Some fans, for example, will gather at their local pub for a few pre-match pints, buy the matchday programme or get a particular type of pie at halftime.
Some fans, meanwhile, will go to football grounds and place a pre-match bet within the stadium’s concourse through a service known as in-stadium betting. In this article, we’ll explain all you need to know about betting at a football ground, including which clubs allow it and whether there are any benefits or drawbacks when compared to simply going to the bookie or placing a wager online.
What Is In-Stadium Betting?
As the name suggests, ‘in-stadium betting’ refers to the practice of placing a bet within a football ground, usually through a kiosk in the concourse where both EPOS and tablet technologies are used to process customers’ bets. At most of these betting kiosks, there are printed match coupon forms for customers to take, look at and consider the odds, fill in and then place their bets at the service desk where they can pay through cash or card.
However, whilst this practice is possible for a proportion of select fans across the country, several grounds so far do not offer this service, meaning the answer to the question of whether it’s possible to bet at football grounds very much depends on which stadium a bettor is visiting.
Which Stadiums Provide In-Stadium Betting?
At the time of writing, a sizable chunk of UK football grounds currently provide an in-stadium betting service, with the list compiled below giving an indication of just some of the football grounds where in-stadium betting is possible.
Football Clubs Providing In-Stadium Betting:
|Aston Villa||Villa Park|
|Blackburn Rovers||Ewood Park|
|Bolton Wanderers||Macron Stadium|
|Bradford City||Valley Parade|
|Coventry City||Ricoh Arena|
|Derby County||Pride Park|
|Huddersfield||John Smith’s Stadium|
|Hull City||KC Stadium|
|Leeds United||Elland Road|
|Leicester City||King Power Stadium|
|Man United||Old Trafford|
|Newcastle United||St James Park|
|Preston North End||Deepdale|
|Queens Park Rangers||Loftus Road|
|Sheffield United||Bramall Lane|
|Sunderland||Stadium of Light|
|Tottenham Hotspur||Tottenham Hotspur Stadium|
|West Brom||The Hawthorns|
|West Ham||London Stadium|
|Wigan Athletic||DW Stadium|
For many of the football clubs listed, the provision of an in-stadium betting service is possible thanks to the marketing and logistical support gained from establishing a partnership with companies more specialised in providing betting services. Football is a game that is commonly linked to betting and this is reflected in the high number of football clubs currently sponsored by companies in the gambling industry. Clubs often use these existing sponsorship relationships to allow their official betting partners to establish in-stadium betting kiosks featuring their own brand name. An example is seen in Millwall’s use of MansionBet as both a back-of-shirt sponsor and an official in-stadium betting partner.
A common theme of in-stadium betting provision is that most clubs and their betting partners utilise the services of a company known as BD stadium; the UK’s largest in-stadium betting provider. More experienced than most betting brands in terms of providing an efficient in-stadium betting service, BD Stadium are outsourced and entrusted to represent the brand image of partnered betting companies and work as an affiliate for a list of companies including the likes of Coral, Ladbrokes, and MarathonBet, alongside several other big names in the industry.
What Are the Benefits of In-Stadium Betting?
Official betting partners having their brand name attached to a stadium’s betting service benefit from exposure to a wide array of match-goers, with their brand being showcased to their target market of football fans, highly increasing the chances of new customers, and therefore additional revenue streams.
Customers betting via an in-stadium service will come across markets tailored specifically to the game they’re attending, with the odds for these markets tending to be very favourable. Often these markets see promotions and price boosts, meaning supporters with a good knowledge of the game and a knack for correct predictions may be able to sniff out money-making opportunities should a promoted outcome (with an associated boost in the odds) be viewed as worthy of an educated bet; i.e. a certain goal scorer/assist provider. Should this educated bet pay off, then the customer will manage to make the most of in-stadium betting’s advantageous offerings.
Supporters might consider odds set by in-stadium providers as looking favourable for the team they support and may feel encouraged to bet in favour of a positive result, in turn giving them an extra incentive to get behind and support the team, possibly improving the stadium’s atmosphere, and hopefully giving the club the 12th man needed for success, likely leading to a customer’s sense of achievement through indirectly influencing their team’s victory with their fervent support.
What Are the Disadvantages?
Unlike a standard betting shop where cash can be used to place a bet and then returned as cash winnings, in-stadium betting tends to demand the need to create and register an online account for the receipt of any winnings.
System of Collecting Winnings
For customers who are less inclined to use technology, perhaps lacking the devices required to engage with an online betting account, this system of collecting winnings is unlikely to sway them to bet through an in-stadium betting service. Likewise, customers not already registered may feel cautious about having to share their personal or financial data as part of the registration process.
However, some stadiums provide alternative collection methods. For example, some stadiums allow bettors to collect their winnings the day after their winning bet at branches connected to the betting provider; hence those people winning a bet in stadiums partnered with Coral would generally mean customers can pop to any Coral branch the next day to collect their winnings. For customers who are less active with technology, an option like this might go some way into convincing them to place an in-stadium bet. However, this option can only work if the betting partner has a presence on the high street; for instance, Millwall’s partnership with online betting company MansionBet prevents this collection method.
Lengthy Wait Times
Alternatively, some stadiums allow users to collect winnings at an in-stadium kiosk during the next home game. Although this is a reasonable enough option for customers who are not technologically active, a lengthy wait time for the next home game could frustrate some of the less patient customers, especially if an international break is forthcoming, meaning at least a fortnight of waiting to pick up the winnings.
Slower Shift in Odds
Another potential downside, although an occasional advantage, to consider is that unlike online betting, odds are often decided and printed in the morning, meaning that shifts in odds aren’t reflected in the prices provided by the stadium. Compare that to an online betting market where bookmakers are always shifting odds wherever they see fit, looking out for factors such as the team selection and pre-match injury news which may impact the likelihood of certain outcomes, making sure that prices reflect current expectations.
In-stadium betting providers won’t have this flexibility and instead have to hope circumstances don’t impact the odds too much. In some cases, this could work out well for a punter; the bookies might expect a Premier League side to demolish a League Two side and therefore offer high odds for the League Two side to win, but a pre-match announcement of the Premier League side fielding a team consisting of their under-21s might make the odds lower for the League Two side.
A match-going bettor can look at this line-up and pounce upon a lack of an in-stadium price shift and, should the League Two side win, come away with bigger winnings than they would have done had they decided to place an online bet on the League Two side after the announcement of a weakened line-up and the resultant shift in odds.
In-Stadium, Online or at a High Street Store?
Bettors now have a range of options to choose from when considering where to place their bets, but should betting in-stadium be considered the go-to choice? It all really depends on the personal preferences of the person looking to place a bet. Would they forego the constantly shifting and flexible odds of online betting in order to benefit from potentially more favourable prices tailored specifically to a game they’re going to watch?
Some fans might find a greater sense of community and belonging to their club by interacting with stadium staff to place their bets, whilst others might consider it to be an essential part of their matchday checklist. Some other instead prefer the convenience and speed of betting online compared to doing so in stadiums. In reality, every customer has different needs, wants, and attitudes which will be reflected in their betting behaviour, but what can be said is that in-stadium bets certainly aren’t a bad route to consider for any betting customer weighing up their options.
A Suggestion for the Future
All in all, in-stadium betting is a worthwhile path for football clubs to follow if looking for ways to enhance the experience for match-going fans, having the power to become a key part of the matchday experience and to stand alongside the more known traditions of pie eating and programme buying, but it’s all down to the football clubs to tap into this possibility. Of course, allowing betting firms to take bets in the club’s stadium also brings in revenues that can bolster the coffers, which is always welcome for any football club.
If football clubs and their betting partners can innovate, use technology to improve the betting service process in stadiums, but don’t alienate supporters who are less technologically minded by forcing them down a path of creating online accounts, in-stadium betting can certainly be a positive thing for most people looking to bet on a game they are attending. Giving in-stadium customers a choice of where to collect winnings is a sure-fire way to get punters on board and should therefore be a no-brainer for football clubs up and down the country.