How has sports betting changed in the past 10 years

Last updated: 08 Mar 12:45

With the rapid rise of technology and online platforms, sports betting has been transformed in many different angles. This has created opportunities for both individuals and companies to treat betting on sport events as an alternative asset class and investment. However, there are a lot of dangers and wrongdoing related to these changes.

1. Auto bet tracking is a reality

In the old days people were using pen and paper to track their bets. Then, when Microsoft launched Excel, many people started using it. However, nowadays there are even more advanced ways of bet tracking that can provide you with high-level betting analytics and to automatically carry out the bet settlement for you. Technology is fundamental for your success in sport betting so take advantage of it - the small investments will pay off in the long-run!

2. Everything is easier, including losing money

Nowadays you can find a plethora of information since we have access to the internet. This means that all of us can get relatively easily informed about various leagues around the world just by typing a few letters in a search engine. That is only one side of the coin though and creates a false sense of self-confidence in us. The bookmakers are gathering more information about punters’ patterns and trends, they are producing more sophisticated betting analytics algorithms and are engineering more compelling data-driven advertisement materials.

Previously, people were going to their local betting shops to place their bets. Similar to bank branches, these stores are getting closed down as targeting customers online gives a vast amount of opportunities for bookmakers to make more money. Firstly we were using our computers and laptops, but now we are utilising our mobile phones which we carry with us all day long. We now have a large amount of odds providers to choose from and can place a bet at the tip of our fingers, anytime and at any place. Furthermore, soon augmented reality will quite likely be included in our betting options as well.

However, that instant gratification is actually quite damaging to the mental health and financial condition of the majority of punters who do not really consider what the cost of their comfort is. Essentially, since people can stake whenever they want means that bookmakers can generate higher turnover from its non-vigilant customers. Since more than 90% of bettors are losing money in the long-run, it is not a surprise that gamblers in the UK have lost nearly twice as much in 2016, compared to 2006!

3. Helping problematic gamblers is on the agenda of the governments

Given the statistic I just quoted, it should be quite relevant for governments to make sure their citizens are not throwing so much money into gambling activities. Legislation in the sphere has been introduced mostly from the developed countries though such as the UK. This is why GamCare was created to help problematic gamblers. Currently IBAS is a place where disputes between a bookmaker and a punter can be resolved, and bookmakers are obliged to introduce mechanisms to inform gamblers about their losses by adding reality-checks and provide options for deposit limits.

However, bookmakers have to pay higher taxes, and all of the technology implementations require money. That is why a lot of companies have merged for financial purposes – an example of that are Ladbrokes and Coral who are now part of the Ladbrokes-Coral group. Therefore, to survive, these odds providers need to make even more money and thus can look for ways to avoid legislation. In fact, some bookmakers had to pay millions in fines for failing to comply with the legislation linked to “helping” troubled gamblers.

Despite all the change, my personal view is that the measures required by the government have little, if not negative, effect on supporting most gamblers in overcoming their addiction.

4. Being a full-time professional bettor is viable

There are many people who have devoted time to research, enrich their betting knowledge and boost their betting analytics – these are the individuals that can beat the bookmakers at their own game and make a living out of it. You can either become one of these people – this is actually much harder than most people perceive it to be though! However, the good news is that you can merely follow a tipster successfully to gain money, as long as you track your tipsters’ profit. Due to the importance of transparency, a lot of these prudent advisors will have their results tracked by an independent third party company to verify their talent. You can see them inside out and make up your mind on whether you want to trust them!

5. Social communities are flourishing

In online platforms, people can interact with each other and discuss various ideas – sports betting is no exception. According to my observations, these communities are expanding and have members who would stay on for years. Members can compete against each other for cash prizes and free bets, talk about their opinions and findings on specific games and support each other if they are experiencing issues. This is actually, in my perspective, the best place for users to acquire the information they need to be successful in enhancing their betting bankroll, instead of looking at the superficial statistics that the majority of sites are flooding them with. Moreover, people will be more informed and can identify a lot of different types of fraud and protect their earnings.

These platforms provide opportunities for professionals to create connections and for novices to learn from renowned punters with a remarkable betting history – the outcome being that all parties involved can increase their betting bankroll!

6. There are bots for auto bet placement

This is a recent innovation, which has emerged from the immense developments in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. How it works:

I) You follow a tipster

II) The tipster publishes a pick

III) Through API the bot identifies which is the game and option

IV) The bot logs in with your user details in a bookmaker like Pinnacle

V) The bot places the bet for you

Although this may seem fascinating, there are quite a few drawbacks:

I) If the tipster you are following is actually much worse than it looks on the surface, this can mean a lot of trouble for your betting bankroll

II) You should incorporate a lot of complexity into the code – for instance, you may want to follow ten tipsters but if all of them place many bets in the same day, will you bet on everything. You also have to make sure that the odds which the bot is taking are viable (e.g. if a tipster publishes a pick at odds of 1.80 but your bot places it at 1.30, you would not be too happy when you come back and see what has happened!)

III) Cost implications – I would not recommend you getting such software unless you a high-roller with a comprehensive understanding of betting analytics.

7. Asian markets are where the high-rollers can go

These bookmakers revolutionalised the market back in the early 2000s and were one of the main reasons why people started considering sports betting as an investment-worthwhile venture. These bookmakers are offering higher odds (i.e. charging lower margins) and these are the places where most professional gamblers make their money since one can wager higher sums on obscure games. About five years ago, brokers emerged, and thus a bettor can have access to 5-6 Asian bookmakers and Pinnacle Sports from just one account. However, these providers generally operate with less transparency than their European competitors (e.g. bet365, Sky Bet, William Hill) and are less regulated.

8. Fixed games are on the increase

Similar to insider trading in financial stock markets, fixing games was not popular back in the days – merely because the criminals could not make large amounts of money out of it. However, we are all familiar with the stories of Italian match-fixing scandals in recent years.

Moreover, with the opportunities that Asian bookmakers and brokers provide, fraudsters can easily stake (and win) hundreds of thousands of pounds on an obscure match like Universitaria Craiova u19 vs Dinamo Bucuresti u19. However, bribing a bunch of young kids with $1000 to play in a way that suits the criminals is unfortunately not all that hard to be organised and carried out. Hence, if everything goes according to plan, the criminals will make large profits, and it will be an arduous task to track them down. As a result, there are a lot of scandals in that sphere, and certainly, more education is needed for the players to prevent such illegal activities from occurring.

For more interesting articles, have a look at our betting blog!


Teemu Maarela

Esports & Ice Hockey Specialist


Teemu is an enthusiastic Finn who spent his childhood around ice hockey and video games, and he has 10+ years of experience with sports betting industry. Teemu specialises in analysing esports and ice hockey games. He contributes to website in English, writing about his two passions - ice hockey and esports.
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