Academic Darragh McGee’s “revealing expose” of online sports betting, Copycat games: how the gambling industry hijacked the sport in Britain (and why the US is next), was snapped up by Yellow Jersey Press.
Editor Joe Pickering bought the UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Martin Redfern of Northbank Talent Management. The publication of the book is scheduled for March 2024.
The blurb reads: “In Imitation gamesDarragh McGee embarks on an eye-opening global investigation to find out who the winners and losers are of one of the most dramatic transformations the sports world has seen – the explosion and influence of the sports gaming industry.
“Sports and gambling have always been inextricably linked, but over the past decade smartphone technology and light touch regulation have energized the industry. Today, bets can be placed on virtually any sport anywhere in the world, with the “slot in your pocket” offering instant in-game betting opportunities at your fingertips. But as the profits of the online betting giants have soared, so have the harms of gambling, especially among young men.
Yellow Jersey described the book as “full of groundbreaking research and original interviews”, acting as “a deep dive into this extraordinary world: its key players, its transformation of the worlds of sport, technology and finance and its impact on society at large”.
Pickering said: “It was one of the most confident and compelling proposals I have read in a long time. It was obvious from the first page what an important subject – for the world of sport but also much more generally – it is and still will be; so much so that I immediately wondered why there was not yet a book like this. The answer, I think, is twofold. First, the pace of change has been so incredible: the revolution that Darragh analyzes so convincingly happened so quickly. Second, Darragh himself: he is absolutely the person to write this book, due to his singular expertise and knowledge of the subject.
An academic based at the University of Bath, McGee specializes in the evolving relationship between digital technology, gaming and sport. He leads a research project, funded by the British Academy’s Youth Futures programme, on the expansion of gambling and its impact on young people in sub-Saharan Africa. This follows nearly a decade of research into the growth of online sports betting in the UK. In 2020 he was named a BBC New Generation Thinker and appeared on Radio 3, Radio 5 Live and the BBC World Service, among others.
He said: “As a sports fan since the 90s, I remember a time before the neon lights and eerie logos of digital gaming giants came to take center stage on our television screens, on the billboards that surround historic stadiums and even on the chests of sports stars idolized by millions. In just two decades, we have witnessed a transformation that has left sport in danger of becoming a mere imitation of itself – its cultural authenticity hijacked by the gaming industry for profit. Telling the story of how this transformation unfolded is a project of global scope and significance. I am delighted to work with Joe Pickering and for Yellow Jersey to publish Imitation games.”