The 2019/20 Premier League season looks set to be another thrilling race to the end, as we get an early glimpse of which teams are likely to be genuine challengers.
As clear favourites with most of the bookies, few would put it past Manchester City claiming their third consecutive Premier League crown this season. However, after coming unstuck away at Norwich City in their fifth game of the season, the reigning champions managed by Pep Guardiola are no longer considered unbeatable.
Having narrowly missed out on the Premier League title last season, Liverpool instead settled for being crowned as kings of Europe by winning the Champions League. That said, being crowned as the league champions is still a thorn in the side of the Merseyside club, who haven’t done so since landing the old First Division title in 1990. Unbeaten after their first five games of the season, this might just be the year Jurgen Klopp guides the Reds to glory.
Elsewhere, the chasing pack will be hoping to get closer to both Manchester City and Liverpool this season. Manchester United still have a long way to go and much rebuilding to do, if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes to get his team challenging. Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Arsenal can never be ruled out of keeping within touching distance of the Premier League summit.
Over £265 million spent on football betting
While it’s always interesting to see how betting odds fluctuate throughout the Premier League season, or even in the days running up to key matches in the title race, there’s no doubt the popularity of the English competition has also contributed to huge revenue for the betting industry in Great Britain.
According to data published by Statista, football betting generated a gross gambling yield of £265.42 million between April 2017 and March 2018. That said, this is still a relatively small portion of the overall gross gambling yield for Great Britain. During the same period, the UK Gambling Commission revealed that as a whole, the industry generated more than £14.5 billion during the same period.
Given the scope and scale of the gambling industry during recent years, especially with so many diverse betting markets available for English football and the Premier League, it’s no surprise that betting on the most popular sport in the world has flourished. Gambling companies are also keener than ever to associate themselves with leading clubs, getting their logos printed on shirts, along with publicity featuring prominently around stadiums.
Indeed, a recent study of sponsorship deals in the Premier League makes for interesting reading. Half of the clubs currently playing in the English top-flight have gambling companies as their main kit sponsors, while a further three clubs feature gambling brands as their sleeve sponsors. Many clubs have also signed promotional partnerships with online casinos or sports betting companies.
Overseas broadcasting rights for the Premier League have topped £4.35 billion in worth, which is almost half of the revenue the competition will generate between 2019 and 2022. The popularity of English football, matched by the history and renown of the competing clubs, makes the Premier League brand highly valuable. As such, companies from all kinds of industries are clamouring to associate their brands with that of the Premier League.
In the past, the majority of main sponsors on football shirts were typically brands from industries including financial services, electrical goods, automotive, or travel and tourism. That panorama has completely changed over the last decade, given the massive rise in the popularity of online gaming and gambling.
Football influencing online casino games
Aside from sports betting, online casinos have also grown impressively over recent years. Featuring alongside classic favourites such as poker and blackjack, by far the most popular game at online casinos are the slots. As a game which requires no skill, slots are simple and easy to play. There’s also a huge selection of slots to choose from these days.
One of the most innovative companies in the gaming industry, UK-based developer Microgaming has produced hundreds of slots over the years, engaging players with all manner of themed games that take classic slots to an entirely different level. There are slots themed around movie and TV show franchises, music and culture, plus every kind of sport you can think of.
Appealing to football fans will be the selection of slots themed around the beautiful game, with several games taking their inspiration from activity on the football pitch. Based on the popular football magazine from the 1970s and 1980s, SHOOT! features icons of legendary players such as George Best, Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona, Paul Gascoigne; and many more. Very much one for nostalgic football fans, history buffs will no doubt enjoy this slot.
Another popular slot game is Football Stars, which takes the action from the pitch with familiar images from the sport, to the spinning reels. Featuring a variety of icons which include stadiums, players, boots and even the referee, the aim is simply to match these icons to win prizes and unluck special features in the game. The ‘wild’ icon also unlocks special features and there’s also mini games from which players can get free spins or additional prizes.
Both of these slots by Microgaming have proven popular amongst football fans at numerous online casinos. However, it’s always worth checking reviews to find out which online casinos offer the most attractive no deposit slots bonuses, which let you play for free before making cash deposits, or even how they perform on mobile and desktop devices. The choice of deposit options and overall quality of services is also important to check when reading reviews.
Given how entertainment mediums are increasingly becoming more intertwined, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see slot games themed around individual Premier League clubs and star players, or even utilising the competition brand itself in coming years. That precedent has already been set in Spain, where LaLiga has partnered with both sports betting companies and online casinos.
There’s no doubt that with so many slots available to play these days, choosing which game to play could, quite literally, leave you in a spin. Nevertheless, when tired of betting on football yet still keen to play games that are themed around the sport, there’s a very good selection of football themed slots available at most online casinos.