Sports Betting

Betting on sporting events is a form of gambling that has been around for a very long time. The popularity of sports betting was continuous for many years, and this only rose with the evolution and increasing popularity of the world of iGaming. 

The chances are, even if you are not a regular gambler, you have seen countless adverts for different sports betting companies offering promotions that look too good to be true. 

But what exactly is online sports betting? How does it work? And are these exciting promotions as good as they look? 

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The Evolution of Sports Betting

Sports betting has been a part of the world for centuries. Betting on sporting activity goes back almost as long as the concept of competitive sports does. 

The appeal of sports betting to many is that it’s a fun form of gambling. A small bet on a football game, for example, can add a little more excitement to the watching of the game. Win or lose, there is entertainment to be had. 

This has remained true for as long as sports betting has existed, but those who gambled on sport centuries ago would be blown away by the intricacies of sports betting now. 

Of course, you can still simply bet on the outcome of a sporting event. You can bet on a team to win a particular match, or a horse to win a particular race, but there are so many more options available now. 

This is heavily down to the rise of the online gambling world over the last few decades. With technology now allowing for instant betting, you can bet in-game on a variety of different outcomes, down to the number of corners that will be taken in a football match, or who is going to score the next goal from any point. 

In the UK, sports betting has been legal, and immensely popular for a long time at this point, but other countries are newer to the table, such as the USA. 

Sports Betting in the USA

It was not long ago that New Jersey won the right to offer sports betting, a Supreme Court case that allowed for any US state to legalise sports betting if they so choose. 

There are no several states in the USA that offer fully legalised sports betting. As well as New Jersey, the home of Atlantic City, there is also Nevada, home of Las Vegas, and another state known as a mecca for gambling, perhaps even more so than New Jersey. 

But it isn’t only these states which have joined the party on sports betting. Delaware, Mississippi, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia have now all have full-scale legalised sports betting, while New York and Arkansas have recently passed bills that will see them joining the above. 

Many other states are moving towards passing bills, meaning it won’t be long until the majority, if not all US states have legalised sports betting. The only state very unlikely to legalise sports betting is Utah, which has an anti-gambling position written into its constitution, lotteries, table games, and sports betting are all not only illegal, but strongly opposed by the state’s government. 

There is certainly an appetite for it, as the immense popularity of fantasy sports in the US proves, and with many UK based companies expanding across the pond to offer their services to the fresh-faced, excited US customer base, there is no shortage of quality on offer either. 

Can you Make Money from Sports Betting?

As is always the case with gambling of any kind, there is no sure-fire way to make money, and you are more likely to lose than win. That is a simple, yet hard to swallow truth about gambling If those offering gambling services weren’t making money, they wouldn’t be able to carry on.

But sports betting is one of those rare forms of gambling that is not entirely a game of chance. Obviously, you can never be 100% sure of an outcome, but there are ways to know one outcome is more likely.

This comes from research, and knowing the sport you are betting on. There are, of course, simple forms of this. To use football as an example again if a Premier League club is playing a non-league club in the cup, the Premier League club is much more likely to win.  

But sports betting is not even in that regard, you won’t win as much for betting on the Premiership team as you would if you bet on the non-league team an they went on to upset the giants in one of those shockers we all get excited about. 

Odds

It is at this point we must focus on one of the basics of sports betting, odds. Odds are what is used to determine how much you will get to each £1 you bet, and they are worked out through the probability of each outcome. 

Continuing the example above, the Premier League club may have odds of less than 2/1, or even go the other way and have odds of 1/2 or lower. While the non-league club may have substantially higher odds. 

Now, it is important to note at this point that things have changed a little in terms of odds. There was a point when the odds would be ludicrously long on certain outcomes, such as 1000/1, but that is very rarely the case these days. 

There is a very simple reason for that, and that reason is Leicester City Football Club. 

The Leicester City Miracle

In the 2015/16 English Premiership football season, Leicester City shocked the world by rising from relative obscurity to snatch the league title from the grasp of the usual giants of the sport such as Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea. 

Nobody, including Leicester City themselves, expected this result to occur at the beginning of the season. There had been no huge buyout of the club by a billionaire, no multi-million-pound purchase of highly touted international footballers, Leicester City was an average premiership club who were expected to be battling for regulation at the end of the season. 

But under Claudio Ranieri, the club just kept winning, and soon it was impossible to avoid the fact that a miracle may happen, and ultimately, it did. 

For bookmakers, this was something of a wake-up call, because at the beginning of the season, the odds of Leicester City winning the league had, in some cases, been as long as 1000/1. 

As the league came to an end, a few people, mainly those who had been bought a £1 bet on the club as a joke, were in line to win big. While many of these bettors decided to (understandably) cash out before the end of the season, while Leicester were top but were not guaranteed the title, it acted as a splash of cold water to the face of the betting companies who had, up until that point, not thought twice about attaching long odds to something that was statistically as close to impossible as something can get. 

A Time of Realism

In the modern era, or the post Leicester City Championship era, perhaps, odds are a lot more rational, and while unlikely outcomes will still have long odds, they are not as ridiculously long as they may have once been. 

You would probably get shorter odds on the British Royal Family sweeping to a shock victory in the English Premier League this coming season as you would have on Leicester City at the beginning of 2015 (disclaimer; that probably isn’t something any bookmaker has odds on!). 

So, odds are, essentially, a way to balance out the fairness of sports betting, the more likely the outcome you are betting on is, the less you will win if your prediction turns out to be correct. 

But money can be won, either by taking long shots and getting lucky, or betting on a series of likely outcomes, which then becomes unlikely due to the variant nature of sports. For example, ten likely outcomes happening on the same day are substantially less likely than one. 

But for most, sports betting is just a bit of fun, and for most, that is exactly how it should be. 

Getting Started

If you are new to sports betting and you want to get involved, then there’s a few things you’ll want to be aware of. 

First and foremost, you will notice (if you haven’t already) that there are countless options available when it comes to finding the right place to be, so you’ll need to find the most suitable option for you. 

We have reviews of all the best sports betting sites within these pages, so be sure to read those to get an idea of what sites will suit your needs. 

Picking the Right Sports Betting Site(s)

Unlike casino sites, you may find that no one sports betting site is the right choice for you, this is mainly because odds are not consistent across sites. You may find there are two or three different sites that have better odds at different times for events you would want to bet on. 

Therefore, it’s important to not commit yourself to just one option, instead, be willing to sign up to a few sites and check them all each time you want to bet on a specific event. 

Of course, like with any website you are planning on spending money at, it is important to check that you and your money will be kept safe and secure. Be sure to find sports betting sites with a strong reputation for protecting their customers. 

Also check out licenses. Any betting site needs to be licensed for the jurisdiction you are in to offer you its services. This means you will be protected by the regulator who gives the licenses if there are any issues between you and the site you are using. 

After that, look at promotions, but be sure to read the small print. Some sorts betting sites will offer amazing looking promotions, but these are often not as sparkly as they first appear. Often the higher offers will pay out in bonus funds, which means that your winnings can only be used on future bets. There will often be a high limit on how much you have to win with these funds before you can actually start withdrawing money. 

Like in all forms of online gambling, read the small print thoroughly before signing up to anything.

Start Slow and Move Carefully

Once you are ready to start betting, start slowly. Remember that sports betting can be complex at first, so don’t bet far above the minimum until you’ve got the hang of what you’re doing. 

Once you have a sense of how it works, and what the right way for you to bet is, then be careful with how much you bet. 

It is vital to remember to never bet any more than you can afford to lose. Remember that there is no sure thing in sports betting. However likely an outcome is, it is not a guarantee, and losing more than you can afford can be damaging to you and those around you. 

Gambling addiction is something that affects many people around the world, and is the difference between gambling, in any form, being fun, and being genuinely damaging. 

So, remember to only ever bet as much as you can afford to lose, and if you win, withdraw at least a percentage of your winnings. Leave the rest to bet with, and keep doing that. This way, you can win, and keep playing, without running the risk of losing all of your winnings throwing bad bets after good bets. 

The most important thing to remember is that it’s more than just a slogan, when the fun stops, stop. 

Is Sports Betting for You? 

Sports betting is one of the most popular forms of gambling, because it can make a sporting event even more fun to watch. But remember it is not for everybody. 

If you are tempted by the concept of sports betting, follow the guidelines above, find a site (or a few) that is safe and suits your needs, and try some small bets. If you enjoy it, and you can afford to, then keep going. 

But never be scared to step away if you are not enjoying yourself, or you are worried about the amount of money you are spending.