Current Affairs & Business

Yellow Jersey to publish Imitation Games by Darragh McGee


Yellow Jersey have bought BBC New Generation Thinker Darragh McGee’s revelatory exposé of online sports gambling, Imitation Games: How the Gambling Industry Hijacked Sport in Britain (and Why the US Is Next). UK & Commonwealth (ex Canada) rights were acquired by Senior Editor Joe Pickering from Northbank non-fiction agent Martin Redfern. Publication is due in March 2024.

In Imitation Games, Darragh McGee sets off on an eye-opening global investigation to discover who are the winners and losers of one of the most dramatic transformations the world of sport has known – the explosion and influence of the sports gambling industry.

Sport and gambling have always been inextricably linked but over the past decade smartphone technology and light-touch regulation have turbocharged the industry. Today, bets can be placed on virtually any sport anywhere in the world, with the ‘slot machine in your pocket’ offering instant in-play betting opportunities at your fingertips. But as the profits of the online betting giants have soared, so too have associated gambling harms, especially among young men.

Full of ground-breaking research and original interviews, Imitation Games is a deep dive into this extraordinary world: its major players; its transformation of the sport, tech and finance worlds; and its impact on society at large.

Joe Pickering said, ‘This was one of the most confident, convincing proposals I’ve 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 – this is and will continue to be; so much so that I immediately wondered why there hadn’t been a book like this on it yet. The answer I think is two-fold. Firstly, the pace of change has been so incredible: this has all happened so quickly. Secondly, Darragh himself: he is absolutely the person to write this book, due to his singular expertise and knowledge of the subject.’

Darragh McGee said, ‘As a sports fan since the 90’s, I can recall a time before the lurid neon lights and logos of digital gambling giants came to take centre-stage on our television screens, on advertising hoardings that wrap around historic stadia, and even on the chests of sports stars idolised by millions. In just two decades, we’ve witnessed a transformation that has left sport in danger of becoming a mere imitation of itself – its cultural authenticity hijacked by the gambling industry for profit. Telling the story of how this transformation unfolded is a project of global scale and significance. I am thrilled to be working with Joe Pickering and for Yellow Jersey to publish Imitation Games.’

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