The Blues’ Betting Culture

Without argument, gambling is a super-developed pastime in Britain. In fact, the UK ranks as one of the most booming gaming/betting sectors in Europe, as it has notched impressive and ever-growing revenue figures year on year since the passing of the Gambling Act in 2005. As of 2023, this UK business sphere has gotten estimated to be pulling in around £14.3 billion, with the online surge and the expanding role of betting elevating engagement contributing dramatically to this figure.

It goes without saying that London is the heart of UK gambling, as the city boasts more than fifty casinos and thousands of betting kiosks. Hence, it should come as no surprise that many Chelsea supporters are keen on laying down wagers on the Blues and other EPL matches. The formalization of gambling in England as a legalized hobby began in the mid-19th century and got elevated to mainstream entertainment with the passing of the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960. Today, stats claim that London alone has around nine million bettors who primarily wager at online bookmakers, UK Gambling Commission-regulated ones, and sites run by offshore operators.

The Chelsea Football Club has been active since 1905, and during this time, its ardent supporters have cultivated a strong stadium culture. Of course, like most Brits, some have been rather keen on betting. But a chunk of the club’s unwavering fan base has had somewhat of a tumultuous relationship with this activity, looking down upon it, and that gets explored more below.

Chelsea Fans Like to Bet Against Their Team

Shocking, we know. Yet, a mid-2010 survey that included two thousand Premier League fans, posted results stating that around 18% of Blues’ supporters have a habit of betting against their favorite team on match day. That is more than any other London club. Conversely, Arsenal supporters, according to this poll carried out by the social betting app Every Fan, have the most faith in their team, with only 11% of fans backing the opposition on game day.

13% of Tottenham lovers wagered on rivals to win, while Watford supporters did the same at a rate of 14%. Those who backed West Ham and Crystal Palace posted numbers of 15% and 16%, respectively, in this department. Still, Chelsea fans are not the worst when it comes to lacking faith in their side to triumph in individual duels, as that honor falls on Southampton devotees, who are the guiltiest of this, with 22% of Southampton’s fan base often betting against their team.

Blues Supporters Have Rebelled Against Bookmaker Sponsorships

In 2021, news broke that Parimatch Tech, an international company operating in the betting and entertainment industry, had teamed up with Chelsea FC on a three-year deal to utilize the club for creating branding opportunities. However, the relationship between the two parties fell apart after the Russia-Ukraine war conflict unfolded and the sanctions applied to then-club owner Roman Abramovich came into force.

What was surprising about this turn of events was that Parimatch pulling out from their deal with Chelsea elicited a positive response from many Blues fans, as it turned out that a significant chunk of the club’s followers are against gambling sponsorships. That became evident again in June 2023, when Chelsea supporters firmly opposed becoming a proposed shirt sponsor. Chelsea Supporters’ Trust conducted a survey on this topic and discovered that 77% of fans are against the deal with this famed crypto gambling brand, which is interesting since various sources have suggested that Chelsea is one of the clubs that draws the most betting interest.

While most understood that the club’s management wishes to maximize revenue streams, they believed these sorts of agreements undermined the integrity of Chelsea FC as a whole.