Revealed: How ‘fun’ social media accounts drive fans to gambling giant

<span>Andy Robson Tips, who has more than 1 million followers on social media, sponsors Faroese team B36 Torshavn.</span><span>Photo: Simon Galloway/PA</span>” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/ 633c55b6386b” data-src= “–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/ 55b6386b”/></div>
<p><figcaption class=Andy Robson Tips, who has more than 1 million followers on social media, sponsors Faroese team B36 Torshavn.Photo: Simon Galloway/PA

Popular social media accounts, including gambling ‘tipsters’ and a cult parody of footballer James Milner, operate as part of a marketing network that directs users to a major gambling website.

One of the accounts, @AndyRobsonTips, gives the impression that it is run by a person who helps fans beat the bookmakers. Another, known as @BoringMilner, is widely known as a parody account that posts jokes about football for fun.

None of the accounts, part of a social networking company with more than 1 million followers, appear to have given any public indication that they are working together. But both are associated with or owned by Fanwave Digital, a company jointly owned by an investor in Scottish championship team Raith Rovers.

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Fanwave aims to increase revenue from the gambling industry in return for a fee, according to reports filed with Companies House. It has been worked on Boring James Milnera social media account that has nothing to do with the experienced Brighton and former England midfielder, but which expresses the idea that he irritates teammates with boring comments and observations.

The account reveals no ties to the bookmaking industry. But @boringmilner, which has more than 600,000 followers on X, formerly known as Twitter, has been regularly reposting the popular gambling tipster @andyrobsontipsalso recently as last week.

Andy Robson Tips has amassed more than 1 million followers on X, Instagram and Facebook by offering free betting suggestions for punters to copy in the hope of beating the bookmakers. The [football video game] Fifa in my boxers”.

But no one named Andy Robson is behind the @andyrobsontips account, a source familiar with the company told the Guardian. Instead, the account is part of Fanwave Digital, a social media marketing company that is paid by Paddy Power Betfair, part of the £26 billion gambling group Flutter, to post betting tips that link to the company’s website.

In previous years, Fanwave earned commission by taking a cut of gamblers’ losses. It is believed to have abandoned this model around three years ago and is paid by Paddy Power to drive traffic exclusively to the bookmaker on a “cost per acquisition” basis. This means that Fanwave receives compensation for every person who opens an account with the company.

The Andy Robson persona also has its own page, Andy’s Bet Club, on the Paddy Power website. A terms and conditions page on the website states that Andy’s Bet Club is a “trading name of Fanwave Digital”.

Founded in 2014, Fanwave says it helps companies “increase their online presence and develop new and exciting products.” Accounts filed with Companies House suggest a narrower focus, saying the company makes money through “commission from gambling advice”.

Boring Milner appears to have reposted and then deleted dozens of tweets promoting Andy Robson Tips over several years, according to archived versions of X on the Wayback Machine, which records old versions of web pages.

As of last week, Fanwave has stated on its website that it is “partnering with” Boring Milner, but the terms of the relationship have not been disclosed and Fanwave declined to answer questions about it. Emails to an address associated with Boring Milner went unanswered.

Earlier this week, all reference to Boring Milner disappeared from the Fanwave Digital website. The company has not answered questions about why and it is not known whether Boring Milner still works with Fanwave.

What seems like an innocent, fun account could be another way to make money for the gambling industry

Nick Harvey, Gambling with Lives

In addition to Andy Robson Tips, Fanwave also owns another tipster account known as @badmanbetting. Several accounts targeting fans of football clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United also retweeted @andyrobstontips.

None of Fanwave’s betting tips accounts appear to have posted a betting history detailing their performance. They often post examples of occasions where their tips have won, but examples of losing bets seem to be highlighted less often.

Fanwave Digital is co-owned by 32-year-old Scottish entrepreneur Ruaridh Kilgour, director and co-owner of Raith Rovers.

Campaign group Gambling With Lives said the company’s business model illustrates the complicated links between gambling and modern football. “Nowhere is safe from ruthless gambling advertising, especially on social media, which can be torturous for those harmed,” said campaigner Nick Harvey. “Football and gambling have become so intertwined that even what seems like an innocent, fun account can be another way to make money for the gambling industry.”

Fanwave’s website says its accounts have 1.25 million followers on X and 710,000 on Instagram, and have generated over 1 million likes on Facebook, as well as over 250,000 monthly website visits.

The company’s accounts do not report revenues but indicate that it had net assets of more than £811,000 as of September 2022. The shares are held on a 50:50 basis by Kilgour and his business partner Gordon Bennell, through separate wholly owned companies. .

Kilgour, a lifelong Raith Rovers fan, has said on X that he began discussing investing in the club in February 2023. In April that year, while the investment was being negotiated, @andyrobsontips posted a winning bet on X celebrating Raith. losing to Dundee.

None of the accounts associated with Fanwave Digital have posted betting tips on Raith since he became director. There is no evidence that the tips were against football or betting rules.

Kilgour owns his stake in Fanwave through a company called Socialwave, whose accounts show it had net assets of almost £3.5m as of June 2022, including more than £883,000 in cash in the bank.

A spokesperson for Fanwave Digital said it was no longer accepting a share of its followers’ losses. “Along with our partners such as Paddy Power and Betfair, Fanwave has been instrumental in moving away from the traditional ‘revenue share’ model,” a spokesperson said.

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“The sector is rightly subject to very strict controls and we act in strict accordance with all legal requirements. We recommend low stakes, with an average bet of less than €10, and we actively encourage responsible gambling at all times.

“While the person who created the pseudonym Andy Robson remains the key driver, the brand’s tremendous growth means he is now supported by a talented team helping to meet the growing demand for Andy’s products.”

A spokesperson for Paddy Power said: “As is common practice across many sectors, our Paddy Power and Betfair brands operate affiliate programs. We have an exclusive relationship with two FanWave social media accounts and anyone who decides to place a bet will be directed to the brands’ regulated and licensed websites.”

Emails to an address linked to the Boring Milner X account went unanswered.

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