Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 161–176

The Past and Future of the British Football Pools

  • David Forrest

DOI: 10.1023/A:1022286309127

Cite this article as:
Forrest, D. J Gambl Stud (1999) 15: 161. doi:10.1023/A:1022286309127


The introduction of the treble chance game in 1946 allowed the football (soccer) pools industry to flourish in Britain for nearly fifty years. The focus on size of jackpot led to very high concentration in the sector. The near-monopoly situation facilitated a much higher take-out rate than in other gambling media, a situation fully exploited by the government through the tax system. The importance of the pools industry delayed the introduction of a competing state lottery but, when it was eventually introduced in 1994, the impact on the pools was severe. Much higher costs in pools than in lottery operation make it unlikely that the pools can avoid withering away in the face of much more attractive jackpot prizes available in lotto. The pools industry response has included a new joint product with the lottery but it has proven a costly failure. Reasons for the failure are discussed.

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Forrest
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Sports EconomicsUniversity of SalfordSalfordEngland

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