Why Drake’s Betting Is Bad for Football

Canadian rapper Drake (left) sporting an Arsenal kit from 2006

Canadian Hip-Hop and R&B rapper Drake placed a massive bet on a few of the weekend’s fixtures. He took to Instagram to upload a screenshot of the placed bet, worth around CA$830k. The gamble was placed on an Arsenal victory over Leeds, and a Barcelona win in El Clasico on Sunday, with an estimated payout of just under CA$4million. However, Drake’s actions may just have highlighted why betting is bad for football.

Arsenal managed to scrape a 1-0 victory at Elland Road, but Barcelona were on the receiving end of a 3-1 loss at the hands of Real Madrid. The result in Spain meant that Drake unfortunately lost the bet, losing more than £500k worth of cryptocurrency in the process.

Drake used the betting business Stake to place the wager. The company defines itself as one of the world’s leading crypto betting platforms, and is a sponsor of the Views artist, as well as English football clubs Everton and Watford.

Stake, however, is not a British betting company as the UK-based bookmakers often don’t accept cryptocurrency due to it being a common means for money laundering and illegal dealings.

Drake was accused by a director of another betting company of ‘promoting’ and ‘glamourizing gambling’ whilst being unaware of the impact it may have on younger generations that look up to the rapper.

“Drake can afford to lose these sums, and what he does with his money is up to him,” said Matt Zarb-Cousin, director of Clean Up Gambling (quotes via The Athletic). “But given his profile, he should be aware of the consequences of promoting gambling to the millions of young followers of his Instagram account.

“Bragging about betting huge amounts on social media definitely glamourizes gambling, and the controversy the post has generated, promotes the brand.”

Gambling is an activity that may trap footballers in a world of hardship, and is looked down upon among many professionals.

In September, it was reported that KFC France may be planning to take legal action against PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe after he refused to take part in a campaign sponsored by the fast-food franchise for the French National Team. The World Cup winner declined to participate as he doesn’t want to be associated with those sort of brands, namely unhealthy food businesses and betting companies.

However, it was then revealed that the Frenchman had ties to a certain NFT platform that was also classified as a gambling business by European gambling commissions.

Given the money involved in football, and how ‘easy’ it is for footballers to achieve a greater return through gambling, it is becoming increasingly likely that match-fixing may find a way into the beautiful game on a large scale.

Players may be aware of the financial rewards for certain actions, and carry them through in games, whether it be to the detriment of their own team or not.

On Tuesday, former Reading defender Kynan Isaac effectively had his career ended after being handed a 10-year ban from the FA for betting-related actions.

The 31-year-old was found guilty of spot-fixing and placing illegal bets on an FA Cup tie last season, a game which he was involved in. Isaac deliberately picked up a yellow card in the game, aiding his bet and saw him adjudged to be involved in illegal dealings. Furthermore, the player failed to comply with the FA’s investigation, report the Daily Mail.

Gambling is having an adverse effect on player’s perception of financial freedom, with many of them risking their careers for some extra money. This issue is particularly rife in the lower leagues of European football, where the salaries are minute compared to the continent’s top five leagues.