Site logo

Is F1 gambling with its integrity?

NEWS STORY
24/09/2018

OK, in response to that headline, many of you will be shouting "what integrity", but for now please bear with us.

Twice in the last week, the social media 'twitchforks' have been raised in anger at the sport's powers-that-be.

The first time was in reaction to the update to the official live timing app that has actually taken it back to the dark ages, while the second was in reaction to the news that the sport has agreed a rumoured $100m deal to allow in-race betting.

In the same way that the majority of the online reaction to the app update was negative, so too the reaction to the gambling deal.

In a nutshell, fans are baffled that a company that proudly declared from its high horse that grid girls would no longer be allowed, and such practices would be banished back to the stone age where they belong, can then accept gambling money, and that having finally been weaned off tobacco F1 is now giving in to another addictive scourge on society.

Back in 2000, our editor, who was then employed in a similar role at another F1 site, attended a meeting with marketing representatives of a company with a long history in the sport. We will not identify the company, other than to say it is not a team nor an engine manufacturer but a supplier and sponsor to F1 throughout the sport's history.

When the company was presented with plans for the site in terms of potential partners and sponsors, the chief marketing man leaned back in his chair.

"Through circumstance, our company is one of the largest retailers of cigarettes in some parts of Europe," he began. "If a customer chooses to buy cigarettes and subsequently develops cancer, there is little we can do, we are merely the retailer of a product they wish to buy.

"However," he continued, surveying the site's proposals for partnerships with various companies including betting companies, "should a customer lose their business or home due to the fact we encouraged them to gamble, that would result in negative publicity. We cannot be seen to be associated with gambling." The meeting ended, along with hopes of a partnership.

Though this isn't a verbatim account of what he said, it gets the general message across.

In a bid to pay our bills, Pitpass sadly has to accept ads from betting companies and casinos, and only last year two long-term advertisers ended their partnership with us as a result.

Fact is, like it used to be with tobacco, betting and gambling companies are throwing their cash around in a bid to be seen by prospective punters. Altruism plays no part of their ambition, rather the desire to part the gullible from their hard-earned.

The fact that the first significant deal that the sport has signed under its new ownership is in gambling comes as no surprise as betting companies have a reputation for almost forcing their money on outlets which can promote them.

As we have seen with other sports, where gambling money goes, allegations of corruption soon follow, to the point that some sports have been dealt irreparable damage.

In the same way that the alcohol industry in the UK seeks to absolve itself of the misery its product can cause for some by simply adding the words "drink sensibly" to advertisements, so too the gambling industry has the equally pathetic "when the fun stops, stop" moral disclaimer.

But - and at Pitpass we have seen the evidence first-hand - some can't stop, for some, gambling, like tobacco and alcohol, is an addiction that ruins lives.

The sport has survived perfectly well - and how - thus far without jumping into bed with the gambling industry, so why now, at a time of increasing fears about the damage betting is doing, has F1 welcomed gambling with open arms.

Ignoring the prospect of odds being flashed on to TV screens and apps, in-play betting will leave the sport and participants open to all manner of conspiracies... the strategic mix-up, the fluffed pit-stop no longer merely the source of red faces on the pit-wall and in the garage, but speculation over whether it was for the benefit of a far-east betting syndicate.

In securing the deal, F1 probably thought it had hit the jackpot, for many however, it is just another worrying sign that in its quest for new fans and profit, the powers-that-be have lost sight of what the sport is really about.

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Uffen, 06/10/2018 17:20

"How would betting fit in with team orders? Betting on Bottas to win in Sochi, for example. "

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by geordiemik, 29/09/2018 12:35

"And here was I thinking people bought fags because tobacco companies spent millions plonking great big advertising hoardings everywhere.
How wrong can you be?"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by alvarezh3, 25/09/2018 18:24

"Congratulations for such words, they show there are still brave and ethical men left.

If I may, I would like to add that in addition to loosing homes and businesses, families broken up and the easing of the path for corruption, is the abominable teaching to our children that gambling is just a form of entertainment.

Going through the channels one day I stopped at one of ESPN's, I was shocked to see a poker tournament being shown. Gambling on a gaming table is now a sport, at least according to the company (Disney) we (should) trust to entertain our children with.

I hope that in the end these people at Liberty realize the grave mistake they are making, specially after reading your article, which I think they often do.

Thank you Mr. Balfe."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Optimaximal, 24/09/2018 22:15 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 24/09/2018 22:47)

"This comment was removed by an administrator as it was judged to have broken the site's posting rules and etiquette."

Rating: Neutral (0)

5. Posted by ffracer, 24/09/2018 18:31

"Thank you for this great article... and for identifying the ultimate fear (sad reality as witnessed in other sports?) for us silly romantic purists. There will always be a questionable pit and race accident follies (Raikkonen's Monaco lengthy pitstop, Crashgate and, I'm sorry, Hamilton passing Glock and defeating Massa for the 2009 WC to name a few) but this move will further infuse incredible doubt, as witnessed in other sports, at a time when this sport is dealing with enough. The 'addiction', ironically, is too great. "

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by Tombstone, 24/09/2018 14:47 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 24/09/2018 22:47)

""...open to all manner of conspiracies... the strategic mix-up, the fluffed pit-stop no longer merely the source of red faces on the pit-wall and in the garage, but speculation over whether it was for the benefit of a far-east betting syndicate."

This, I'm afraid, was exactly my first thought on hearing the news.

Pretty sure Mr Lawrence has commented upon this sort of thing in the past on this very website."

Rating: Positive (5)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by Daydah, 24/09/2018 12:42

"I'm afraid F1 is just a hook for Liberty to hang it's wider money making aspirations on. Funfairs, side shows and betting is just the start. Anything to attract punters. Fans are incidental and racing as we have loved it will become just another side show."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by imejl99, 24/09/2018 11:48

"So, realizing what Herculean effort will be to actually make races exciting on track, they turned to make them exciting on app. Give fans something to be excited about? And for non-gambling fans, what ?

There is so much going on there, it is hard to think of and would be boring to mention all...
For one, is there any study confirming increase of fan base due to live betting? It probably would be correct to assume primary goal is to milk existing fans.

Or, imagine betting line DNF over/under 3, backmarker team trowing huge bet somewhere in Asia, no need to elaborate further.
"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

9. Posted by PlayF1, 24/09/2018 11:03

"I too noticed 'the apparent difficult position', though a moments thought does provide clarity.
(Editorial views should be independent of the troublesome issue of advertising)

Everybody is aware of betting.
Running an advert of such services is fairly normal.
However, this is entirely different for the operators of a sport.

Is it wise to integrate betting within the sport?
To flag it up as a major development?

This will bring in those who've never gambled before, and they'll be cannon fodder to the organised betting scams.

And ... how difficult will it be to convince yourself that, if you can't make a tenth place finish, then try and get something out of the weekend?

From what we've seen in other sports, the moral dilemma quickly evaporates."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

10. Posted by FQITW, 24/09/2018 10:29

"I am wondering how this will fit with the new proposed Govt regulations halting ‘in game’ betting like that in Football."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

11. Posted by Greg, 24/09/2018 10:09 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 24/09/2018 10:12)

"This comment was removed by an administrator as it was judged to have broken the site's posting rules and etiquette."

Rating: Neutral (0)

12. Posted by Editor, 24/09/2018 9:41

"@ Mocha

We mention quite clearly in the article that sadly we do accept ads from betting companies and casinos.

Unlike F1 however, rejecting such ads would be a matter of life or death for the site, simple as that.

On the other hand, the fact that you admit you don't notice them shows that we do our best to restrict them and certainly don't have them all over the screen.

In a perfect world we wouldn't need any adverts, but if we are to survive we have no choice.

Please note, I will not be entering further discussion on this matter on this page.

"

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

13. Posted by Mocha, 24/09/2018 9:31

"Does Pitpass still show ads from betting companies? I'm fairly ad-blind so I haven't noticed (nor would I care), but if so, this article seems a little hypocritical. If you are claiming that you have moral objections to gambling and yet are accepting ad money from the gambling industry, that could make someone question your integrity too.

If not, then may I simply recommend making that more clear in the paragraph where you mention it.

I love pitpass, so take this opinion/observation as an effort to help this site avoid any negative impact to reputation that may result.

Mods, this doesn't address the article's content directly, so feel free to edit/delete this comment as you see fit. "

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2019. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms