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02nd Oct 2018

Meet FansBet, the betting company with fan interests at heart

Reuben Pinder

In the current climate of football, football fans are often treated unfairly.

Their interests are neglected, their importance underestimated. With ticket prices constantly on the rise despite the piles of TV money received by top clubs, supporters have to search long and hard to find value in the game they love.

This is where FansBet comes in. They have devised a business model that works to be universally beneficial, passing 50% of profits generated by users to recognised supporters’ groups.

The company was born from the inspiration of two Norwegian businessmen who are, first and foremost, devoted football fans. Through their passion for the sport, they spotted an opportunity to combine their business acumen with their favourite pastime.

Speaking to JOE, FansBet explain their vision: “Isn’t it about time a betting company span around the prism of ‘bookmaker offers service and take all the chips off the felt’ and instead ‘let’s do something for the supporters, let’s work alongside them locally’?

“It’s not a donation, it’s not a charity, it’s supporters’ money being recycled back into the communities that matter to them.”

As much as FansBet work to filter money back into grassroots, it isn’t about one-upmanship over other betting companies.

“They [the founders] were looking at rival betting companies doing nothing but satisfying their shareholders, doing what they do, and some of them doing it very well. This isn’t an attack on them – good luck to them – but FansBet see a much more enjoyable way to do this.”

So how does it work? It’s very straightforward. When you sign up to FansBet, once you’ve entered the standard registration info, you are asked two key questions.

Firstly, which team do you support? This allows the service to ensure that 50% of net profits generated from your bets are directed to the right supporters’ group. They are keen to ensure that no money ends up in the wrong hands. That is to say that if you make it clear you’re a Spurs fan, for example, none of the profits generated by your lost bets will end up in the hands of an Arsenal supporters’ group.

Secondly, you are asked whether you have a local fan group that you’d like to be affiliated with? For instance, a Manchester United fan living in Cornwall can select a recognised supporters’ group local to them, within the umbrella of Manchester United fan groups.

The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) are one of the supporters’ groups with whom FansBet have an official partnership.

A MUST spokesperson explains that the relationship arose from their interest in FansBet’s ethos: “They explained the concept to us and we liked the idea because it’s similar to the ethos that we have about sharing with the members or the customers as you should do with a football club, where everyone benefits from the partnership.

“That idea – that they pass profits to good causes in the interest of the fans – is a smart concept that I think appeals to a lot of people.”

MUST are optimistic that funding from FansBet will help boost the community initiatives they currently run – including hosting a local food bank on matchdays – as well as launching new projects that will bring more of a community feel to the match-going experience at Old Trafford.

They are also hoping to appoint a liaison officer to act as an intermediary between the fans and the club. This role would be filled by “a genuine fan who works with the club to make the relationship better and help with lobbying on all the issues we do now, whether it’s away allocations or ticket pricing”.

The idea of FansBet is to help grow the community feel around supporters’ groups at a time when the professional game’s relationship with grassroots is often tested.

And with 50% of the profits passed back to fans, everyone stands to benefit.