What have been the most significant trends in sports betting?
AtTheMatch analyses three trends in this booming business by AtTheMatch
The sports betting industry is worth between £435 billion - £625 billion each year with around 70% of trade thought to be related to betting on football. The use of a mobile phone or tablet to place a bet has made it easier than ever for fans to act on their sporting instinct. But as global in-play markets have grown exponentially in recent years, the problems posed by illegal gambling and match-fixing are very real and growing ones. AtTheMatch analyses three trends in this booming business
- Match fixing
There have been numerous examples of match fixing across the sports industry. In the world of football, ex-West Brom and Grenada striker Delroy Facey was jailed for two and a half years. In cricket, Danish Kaneria was handed a lifetime ban from cricket. Meanwhile Stephen Lee was banned by snooker authorities for 12 and half years. Fixing the final outcome of a match is not considered the major threat to sport in the UK these days, rather it is fixing an aspect of a match or performance which may not affect the final result - what is known as "spot-fixing". In the UK, it is possible to bet on an individual player being cautioned during a match, but gamblers are restricted to small stakes for fear that such betting opportunities can be manipulated. Instead, bribed players can make a fortune from gambling from bets placed with illegal bookmakers around the globe such as South Asia where gambling occurs outside the control of UK sports authorities.
2. Illegal betting
Closely tied to match fixing and a continuing concern for bookmakers is the proliferation of illegal betting. According to some estimates, the industry could be worth as much as $500bn (£320bn) per year. While it is widely believed that most operate in Asia, it is difficult to put a figure on the size and scope of illegal gambling because there are no official figures in this area. Illegal betting syndicates often offer better odds for a sporting event ensuring the payout for a winning bet is more lucrative. Laws vary across countries so while for example, it is illegal to bet at all in India, it is only illegal to a place an online bet in Singapore (while going to a physical pools store is common place).
3.The growth in technology
One of the biggest changes in this industry is driven by technology. While betting companies continue to sell punters a conviction or feeling, punters can place their bet remotely. They no longer need to make a trip to the betting shop or physically attend a horse race. The global remote betting market alone was worth more than £18 billion in 2010. The widespread use of internet and mobile phones for placing a bet has also made the industry ever more lucrative as quick access to odds ensures betting is highly accessible. In 2011, William Hill saw a 174% increase in mobile betting revenues. So too the number of games broadcasted live on satellite television across the world has only increased audiences for the likes of the English Premier League. However it is in-play markets which saw the single biggest area of growth in the gambling industry. For example, for the 2012 Cardiff v Liverpool Carling Cup final, William Hill took 24,417 in-play bets, while the Australian Open tennis final meant Betfair secured £50 million.
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