The Past and Future of the British Football Pools


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.

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Forrest, D. The Past and Future of the British Football Pools. J Gambl Stud 15, 161–176 (1999).

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  • Joint Product
  • Costly Failure
  • State Lottery
  • Industry Response
  • British Football