Sports betting is a billion-dollar industry. It is local, national, international, global. From a few dollars to a few thousand, people love a flutter, love a water, love a gamble. It is not only a thrilling pastime, but also one that is ripe for exponential growth and continued commercial prosperity. Traditionally, most money is taken on sports, events, tournaments that you would expect. The Superbowl, Soccer World Cup Finals, NBA Finals, World Series, March Madness, Kentucky Derby. You get the picture.
The ones I listed above may rank highly in terms of betting money placed, but as betting becomes more accessible, often online, and global access to more sports gets easier, are these habits changing, likely to change, or have they already morphed into something different? Whereby I don’t think betting on football games such as the Superbowl will even likely be dethroned in the popularity stakes, challenges and challengers may well be on the horizon.
I myself enjoy a little bet. I often lose, but occasionally win. So are my habits, betting on larger events, popular sports, and traditional money-making races, for example, old-fashioned or do I represent the betting majority? I suspect the changing global sports landscape, i.e., the growth of accessible global sporting network channels and ubiquitous online sports of every kind, is also creating a de facto change in sports betting too. The question is how far is this change going and what does it mean?
If It is Happening, You Can Bet On It…But Will You?
It was the Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams that yielded that now famous quote, “If you build it, they will come.” To misappropriate that, if you can forgive me, the betting fraternity could table the assertion “if it is being played, people will bet on it.” Free climbing, cave diving, surfing, mountain biking, motocross. Does that sound like a list of less popular sports or pastimes, or maybe an excerpt from a list of the most popular extreme sports? Or perhaps it is denoting things you can bet on if you look at a betting app or website?
So, what am I getting at? Well, I suspect that the emergence of online betting has made a big difference to how people bet, and more importantly, on what they may bet. Again, I am not saying that traditional sporting events will be surpassed in betting money terms. What I am proposing, however, is that habits are changing, and a wider range of sporting events are now being wagered against. It is a diverse betting landscape, which is for sure. In part, it is due to growing popularity for smaller sports, but also, it is inseparable from the fact that the global market has exploded with the availability of online betting.
Open your sporting app of choice, and you may see what I am saying. All the sports, matches, games, and events you expect are still there, but so are many others. Yes, you can still see the overwhelming presence of online casino games and lotto’s, for example, but you can also have the option to bet on the sports I listed above, along with many, many others. Again, the question for interested parties, especially with financial, commercial, and business interests embedded in traditional sports betting habits, is this merely additional betting or will it ever catch up and pose a serious challenge? Hard to say, easy to speculate on, perhaps. Time will tell. It was ever thus.
How Worldwide Watching Is Driving Worldwide Betting
There is nothing like it. The thrill of placing a bet, then watching the race, match, game, sports event, or action that could see that wager come good. And there is part of my general point, something to which the title of this section alludes. Watching and winning is a significant element of the joy, the pleasure, the excitement, the anticipation and hoped for exhilaration. Placing a bet then watching at home, going to the game, gathering with friends at a bar, wherever or whatever it may be, watching and winning can be fantastic.
I am not saying one has to watch, attend, or keep a watchful eye on something they have bet on to experience the euphoria of winning or disappointment of losing. Not at all. But surely, it is more fun if you are engaged or watching? Thus, with the ability to watch more sporting events, be that via a globally available television network or online via an app or website, the draw to place a bet on those events grows ever more enticing and appealing. It is a simple equation really: round the clock and around the world, as people are able to watch more, thanks to the internet, they are also able to bet more.
So, what conclusions have we drawn, and what momentous claims can be made? As the changing, evolving, and undeniably growing global sports landscape morphs and betting habits around the world are modified, are traditional sports betting habits disappearing, or merely facing new challenges? I suspect the challenges are real. I also believe, however, that however many sports betting options are available, some events will always be the beacons for betting, the holy grails for sports fans looking to have a little flutter and enjoy what comes with it.