If you’re a sports fan, you’ve probably put on a cheeky bet at some point in your life. You would be rich if that one bet was on Leicester City winning the Premier League in 2016.
What if you were a professional footballer, though? Can you still place a bet AND be paid to play football?
In this article, I’ll explain what professional footballers can bet on (if they can bet on anything), why, or why not.
Can footballers bet on football?
In short, professional footballers aren’t allowed to bet on a football match or competition. It should be obvious why – because they have a direct influence on football matches and the outcome of the bet.
It’s not only illegal for footballers to take part in football betting, but it’s also unethical. Footballers aren’t allowed to bet on any football-related matter both on and off the pitch.
Can footballers bet on other sports?
Although there are some blurred lines regarding the legality of footballers betting on other sporting events, they are allowed to, for the most part.
Gambling on horse racing, a tennis match or the national lottery is accepted – basically, anything other than football is authorised for footballers.
Can footballers bet on themselves?
In terms of their playing career, footballers don’t make it unless they “bet on themselves” in the determination and relentless context of that saying. However, wagering money on themselves, either physically or online, using betting companies is illegal.
Let’s think of an example. Imagine if you were a Premier League player who had never received a red card in 5 years of playing.
One day you decide to place a substantial bet with a bookmaker for yourself to get a red card in the next game. The odds are good, and if you win, then you’d receive a hefty amount of winnings.
This is when it becomes illegal.
Because you have direct control over the outcome of the bet, it’s not only illegal and immoral for footballers to bet on themselves, but it also ruins the sport that millions of people adore.
Can footballers participate in other types of betting?
Footballers are allowed to bet on anything outside of their own sport.
This can include any other types of betting, like who’ll be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (if they wish to bet on something like that). Another more relatable example could be betting at the casino, or playing online poker for money.
Gambling is never encouraged for football players, but it’s not illegal. No regulations or Football Association (FA) rules prohibit footballers from betting responsibly on non-sport-related activities.
Why aren’t footballers allowed to bet?
If footballers were allowed to bet, it would damage the integrity of the entire sport. Sponsorships would stop, and fans would be less inclined to watch a “real” football game. This would eventually lead to a fall from greatness for football.
Allowing footballers to bet on their own sport as they please would kickstart a domino effect of the beautiful game worldwide.
It would no longer be a competitive game of football. Instead, it would turn into a game of who has the most money wagered on something happening (match fixing).
FA Betting Regulations
The FA regulations outline a strict betting ban effective for football anywhere in the world. In Men’s football, these regulations apply equally to football players of Manchester City (Premier League) through to Gosport Borough (Southern League).
The same applies to Women’s football. Any player in the FA Women’s Super League and the FA Women’s Championship must abide by the FA betting regulations.
The FA regulations for football betting apply to any match around the world. It also applies to football-related matters off the pitch, like managerial changes and players moving clubs.
But, just because the players themselves aren’t allowed to bet on football – it doesn’t mean that they cannot give tips to friends and family or ask other people to place bets on their behalf.
Some footballers may do this, though many footballers know that they are professional athletes and could risk a worldwide ban if caught.
Betting Rules Summary
If you play football for fun on the weekend or in local five-a-side tournaments, betting on football is perfectly fine.
However, if you play any higher than the Women’s championship or Isthmian Leagues, you’d be breaking the law (and FA regulations) by placing a bet on any football related sports.
This doesn’t mean you can’t get someone else to place a wager for you. But the punishment for breaking the FA betting regulations is just as harsh if you’re not the one placing the bet.
Regardless of what level you play football, though, you’re free to bet on any sport other than football (or who you think the next Prime Minister will be).
Just remember to bet responsibly. See Be Gamble Aware if you have problem gambling habits.