The football pools are a chance for people to place what is essentially a large accumulator bet on the results of football matches. The pools require you to select 10, 11 or 12 matches on your coupon and for you to be successful you need to pick 8 games that finish as a 2-2 draw or greater to win. If you are successful then you will have the opportunity to win a share of the £3million prize pool on offer.
The games on offer range throughout the professional football leagues and are generally the first 50 matches over the 4 English leagues. You can select games from any of the leagues as long as they are on the pools coupon.
The pools have been in operation for over 90 years and are the oldest football gaming company in the world. Each week over 600,000 people enter their pools coupon, and it has provided some of the largest betting pay-outs ever, including wins of £4million in a single weekend.
History of the Pools
The company was established in 1923 and their first betting exercise took place outside Manchester United’s stadium, Old Trafford. Back then the company was run by Littlewoods whose founder, Sir John Moores, opened the first pools book.
Over the next ten years two pools competitors – Vernons then Zetters – were to enter the ring to rival the ever increasing popularity of the Littlewoods company and their Pools concept.
In 1957 the very first pool collectors hit the streets of the UK going door to door to collect coupons from the homes of bettors. These salesmen were paid on a commission basis and received a percentage of every coupon they managed to sell. This initiative saw the concept grow massively, and even today 7,000 employees still grace the streets of the UK visiting homes to collect pools coupons.
1986 was a breakthrough year for Football Pools as the first million pound jackpot was paid out to a nursing syndicate in Wiltshire. The prize money of £1,107,890 was the highest betting pay-out of its kind and gained a lot of attention; it still ranks highly even today. The record pay-out was smashed again in 1994, though, when a syndicate in Manchester managed to scoop £2.9milltion.
The Pools have always seen fit to give back to communities and good causes related to sport. In 1991 the company made a pledge to increase the money which they donated to charities and communities, and to date the Pools committee have given over £1.1billion to a host of good causes.
The Pools Now
2007 saw the owners of Littlewoods and Zetters pool buy out Vernons to form one big Football Pools company. The amalgamation of the three companies has allowed Football Pools to grow again, offering more prize money and also enabling them to give more to charitable causes.
The Football Pools continued its blossoming partnership with the Premier and Football League’s by becoming an official sponsor of each. The deal saw over £6million invested by the Football Pools into grass roots sports schemes in under privileged communities.
2010 saw another record breaking year for the Football pools with both their largest syndicate win so far of £4million, and their largest single win of a tidy £3million pay day for one lucky winner from Brechin, Scotland.
Football Pools & Modern Day Betting
With the availability of so many online sports books and bookmakers it’s always going to be hard for a somewhat antiquated company such as The Pools to compete. With that said, the Football Pools went online in 2008 which has certainly helped, allowing people to access their accounts quickly and safely and bringing the company into the modern day.
Unfortunately, though, there has been a decline in the number of Pools players. The younger generation of bettors tend to go via their bookmakers and place more targeted bets which probably have a much stronger chance of a successful return.
On the other hand, there are few bets in football that will come anywhere near the pay-out of a successful football pools coupon. While there are million pound paydays up for grabs, bettors, even in the modern online era, will still be placing their Pools bets each week hoping for a pay day.