Backing the blues
ARDENT Ipswich fans will be confident of their team beating the drop - but will they put their money where their mouth is?Whether you want to bet on Marcus Bent scoring the opening goal in Town's next game or wagering as to whether Ipswich will stay in the Premiership, you can now have a gamble at Ipswich Town's official website.
By Matt Eley
ARDENT Ipswich fans will be confident of their team beating the drop - but will they put their money where their mouth is?
Whether you want to bet on Marcus Bent scoring the opening goal in Town's next game or wagering as to whether Ipswich will stay in the Premiership, you can now have a gamble at Ipswich Town's official website.
The club has just launched its own betting service at www.itfc.co.uk.
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The move could prove to be a significant way for the club to bolster its coffers, whether they manage to stay in the top flight or not.
With revenue from television expected to drop in the future, clubs are going to have to find new ways of raising funds and online betting is one area that is expected to grow.
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The launch of Ipswich's online betting service shows they are keen to look at different ways of generating income.
Paul Clouting, the club's commercial director, said: "We have searched the market place and I am confident that fans who are looking for an alternative to going to the betting office, or those who are already using on-line betting, will find this a very innovative, exciting and user-friendly way of placing their bets and enhancing their sporting enjoyment."
It is generally believed that broadcasters paid over the odds for the current English football television rights and that less money will be on offer when deals are renegotiated in three years time.
If, as expected, money from television does fall, so will donations to the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) from the Premier League.
On-line betting could be one way in which clubs can recoup some of the expected shortfall. Figures from financial advisors Merrill Lynch show the e-gambling industry is expected to grow fivefold in the next three years.
The estimated market size is currently £17.5 billion, this is predicted to rise to £83 billion by 2005 and double again to £163 billion by 2010.
The new Ipswich Town service, which was launched prior to the 2-0 defeat at Leeds yesterday, will give fans the chance to bet on Ipswich Town games before and as they happen as well as offering a complete range of other bets.
Mr Clouting added: "It's our intention to offer the very best service to supporters, there will be new bets offered everyday.
"This is only the beginning, as technology develops, fans will eventually be able to make a wager from their seats in the stands by way of their mobile phones, while the game is in progress."
The club is working in partnership with Sporting Index on the project - who will provide both the spread and fixed odds betting service. Person to Person betting (fans betting with other fans) will be provided in partnership with Ipswich company Play 121.
WEBLINK: For more information or to place a bet visit www.itfc.co.uk