The Past and Future of the British Football Pools

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

REFERENCES

  1. Alm, J., McKee, M. and Skitmore, M., (1993), “Fiscal pressure, tax competition and the introduction of state lotteries,” National Tax Journal, 46, 463–476.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Connolly, S. and Bailey, S.J., (1997), “The National Lottery: a preliminary assessment of additionality,” Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 44, 100–112.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Cook, P.J., and Clotfelter, C.T., (1993), “The peculiar scale economies of lotto,” American Economic Review, 83, 634–643.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Creigh-Tyte, S. and Farrell, L., (1998), “The economics of the National Lottery,” University of Durham Working Paper.

  5. Easy Play, (1999), Web-site, Easy Play, www.easyplay.co.uk.

  6. Farrell, L., Morgenroth, E., and Walker, I., (forthcoming, 2000) “A time-series analysis of UK lottery sales: the long and short run price clasticities,” Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 62.

  7. Forrest, D., Gulley, D., and Simmons, R., (1998), “Elasticity of demand for the UK National Lottery,” Working Paper, University of Salford.

  8. Kaplan, H., (1990a), “Lottery Mania: an editor's view,” Journal of Gambling Studies, 6, 284–296.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Kaplan, H., (1990b), “The effect of state lotteries on the pari-mutuel industry,” Journal of Gambling Studies, 6, 331–344.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Lafleurs, (1998), Web-site, Lafleurs Lottery World, www.lafleurs.com.

  11. Miers Jr., D., (1996), “The implementation and effects of Great Britain's National Lottery,” Journal of Gambling Studies, 12, 343–371.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Moore, P.G., (1997), “The development of the UK National Lottery: 1992–6,” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A, 160, 170–185.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Munting, R., (1996), An economic and social history of gambling in Britain and the USA, Manchester: Manchester University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Royal Commission, (1978), Report of the Royal Commission on Gambling, London: HMSO, cmnd. 7200

    Google Scholar 

  15. Sharpe, G., (1997), Gambling on goals: a century of football betting, Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Company.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Walker, I., (1998), “Lotteries,” Economic Policy, 27, 359–392.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Forrest, D. The Past and Future of the British Football Pools. J Gambl Stud 15, 161–176 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022286309127

Download citation

Keywords

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