The connection between online gambling and soccer continues to grow in prominence — damn, I really need to learn to bet on soccer — with 188Bet becoming the first two-team kit sponsor in the EPL … their brand soon to be on both Wigan and Bolton. In a two-year deal, gone is JJB Sports and Gone-ish is Reebok.
188Bet-Bolton and 188Bet-Wigan join Mansion-Tottenham and SBOBET-West Ham … making online gambling outfits the torso sponsor of 20 percent of the EPL.
PokerStars, of course, recently entered into Mexico’s Primera Division with FC Chivas, PartyBets has a Coca-Cola team with Leyton Orient, and of course the big boys, Bwin, have Real Madrid, AC Milan, and Bayern Munich. I’m almost sure I’m forgetting a few others …
188Bet, interestingly enough, is an online gambling op that currently draws 80 percent of its customers from the Asian market, and it’s just a coincidence that the new Bolton jersey image above happens to be sized at 188 pixels
That’s what I was thinking while watching the replay of Arsenal vs. Wigan, with the Latics ahead of the Gooners 1-0 … but then they just missed a virtually open-goal opportunity at the start of the second half, and from there it was all downhill. Arsenal snuck one in to tie — looked offsides to me, but no one save for the Wigan defenders even raised a stink about it — and then another goal, and another, and another: total collapse.
Crap. I’ve always liked Wigan, too … was so ready to sell out my beloved Aston Villa to jump back on the Wigan bandwagon … but with them not only losing to Arsenal but getting crushed by them and failing to hold it together when it all really counted … I wondered … well actually, I realized my original hedline still applied.
My favorite bottom-of-the-barrel Premiership team, Wigan, has survived relegation … but their manager, Paul Jewell, has said he’s had enough and will be taking a break from football.
Interestingly enough, it was the Wigan loss against Arsenal — whereupon he mouthed off Mark Cuban-style about the ref — that really got me into the game … and appreciating the beauty of the threat of relegation! Paul Jewell may be gone, but here at Soccerati, he will not be forgotten.