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The Arsenal Match Day Experience – All Bets Are Off


As the big ticket price debate continues – this one won’t go away, and nor should it as it’s high time the Premier League looked at ticketing prices – perhaps the overall fan experience needs looking at, I mean whilst all Gooners are having a moan up, I may as well wade in with my two pennies. I’m entitled after all.

The matchday experience is getting worse at the Ems – it doesn’t help when you have a team that continues to choke – but, for a start perhaps more Gooners would drink at the stadium if there was more choice? And don’t get me started on our “official gaming partner.”

For those that do not know what an official gaming partners is, that means that Betsson is essentially in charge of anything related to Arsenal and gambling. For example, Betsson setup Gunnersgaming.com which is a site that players can gamble with other Arsenal fans and even win their way to the WSOP. This is where the plus points end, as they also are in charge of the betting terminals at the stadium during matches.

Most Gooners that bet online would also enjoy a flutter at the ground, and although there isn’t much wrong with the service received on matchdays, there is on huge flaw: the kiosks don’t open after the game! This was never a problem before as you can find a Ladbrokes on most street corners, but there aren’t any Betsson shops on the high street – or if there are I’ve never seen one…

I also discovered that Betsson was part of the Ongame network, which is home to popular poker sites such as  PokerRoom.com. Then I remembered somewhere reading that PokerRoom had been bought out by Bwin, a sponsor of Manchester United.

This is where things get interesting. They didn’t just buy PokerRoom, they bought the network and in turn were in charge of running the sites on the network. Simply put, the same guys that sponsor one of our fiercest rivals were also sponsoring Arsenal. In a twisted, albeit minor way, Arsenal and Manchester United were connected. Like Frank Stapleton, but less stab-in-the-back.

However, that connection between the teams was somewhat short lived. While bwin did own the Ongame network, they decided that Ongame was an “excess asset” and decided to sell off the network. After a failed attempt to sell it to an American group, the Amaya Group eventually bought the network.

Ironically, the Ongame network is now viewed as an underdog to bwin in much the same way that some view Arsenal as underdogs to the Red Devils. Hopefully Ongame goes on to prove people wrong just like the Gunners will in April at Old Trafford! We can but dream.