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Win Big, Win Often: How Sports Betting Is Revolutionizing The Way We Watch Games

Photo by Jesus Eca

As an industry, sports have now leveled up and the stakes have never been higher. The sports industry has had a massive switch in recent years, particularly in North America. With sports betting being legalized in 2018 for the United States of America and in 2021 for Canada, the way that viewers consume sports has shifted. You can now go about masquerading as a tycoon pretending you’re starring in Casino Royale, all from the comfort of the couch.

Gambling has been a staple in North American culture and a past-time for years at this point, but only since 2018 has sport betting been legalized. As quickly as the Supreme Court gave sports betting the okay, online platforms were already being created. The global sports betting market size is estimated to reach approximately 182.12 billion USD by 2030, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3%.

For the NFL, this year's Super Bowl saw some notable firsts. During the weekend of the 2023 Super Bowl, there were over 100 million legal betting transactions. This represents an all-time record and a 25% increase from the previous year's Super Bowl. It is forecasted that more than 50 million Americans would legally bet on the Eagles-Chiefs game and it is believed that betters collectively wagered as much as $16 billion.

Despite sports betting being on the rise, traces of betting on sports can be seen dating all the way back to ancient civilizations. As an example, sports gambling was popular in ancient Greece when people would place bets on competitions like the Olympics. It was another means of entertainment that ended up making competitions even more exciting. The rise of the Roman Empire caused sports betting to become much more organized and regulated. The Romans took a much more structured approach, having rules in place, setting odds and creating bookmakers.

In these times, people were able to vote on competitions like chariot races, gladiatorial battles and even animal races. Despite its growing popularity, there were periods where sports betting faced decline. For example, during ancient times, the Roman Catholic Church had a heavy influence on society and their opinion about sports betting and gambling led to a hostile stance towards it, reflected in society. This led to betting and gambling being illegal. Though illegal, gambling was still extremely popular, but it was conducted underground.

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As we can see sports betting isn’t new, even legalized sports betting isn’t overly new. In 1992, the Ontario Lottery and Gambling Corporation launched Proline, a type of betting that allows people to wager on the outcome of three to six sporting events at a time. However, in Canada, on August 27, 2021, single-game betting was legalized. Up until that point, the industry had been government-controlled. Since the new gambling laws have come into effect, sports betting has exploded within Canada. The same can be said for the United States of America when sports betting was legalized in 2018.

There are many different types of sports betting. One of the most popular types of sports bets is a money line. A money line is when you pick a team to win at whatever the current odds are when you place the bet and, if the team you picked wins, so do you. If you end up winning, your payout will be based on whatever the odds were at the time you placed your bet. The team that is favored is the team with a negative value, meaning that they are more likely to win.

Take this example:

Los Angeles Lakers: +105

Golden State Warriors: - 125

In this example, you’ll win $105 plus your original $100 (if you originally bet $100) if you bet on the Lakers and they win, or you have to bet $125 for the potential to win $100 plus your bet back on the Warriors.

There are other types of bets that are very popular as well. Some of these include point spread bets, a totals bet, parlay bets, outrights & futures and full cover bets. Within the sports betting community, it is almost guaranteed that you can find a bet to place for whatever you want to bet on. You can also find many platforms to place bets on; you can place bets in person whether that’s in a casino or elsewhere or you can place your bets right from your phone.

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Arguably one of the most popular online betting platforms is DraftKings. DraftKings was created in 2012 and is considered an American daily fantasy sports contest and sports betting company. However popular DraftKings is, there are still many other platforms that are quickly gaining popularity. Some of which are FanDuel, BetMGM, theScore Bet and Bet Rivers.

Like anything in life, there are benefits and negatives to sports betting. Many people have strong feelings towards betting and hold the opinion that it is an unhealthy habit. One of the biggest benefits to sports betting is that there is the potential to make a profit. Depending on how much money you wager and what you bet on, you could end up making significant amounts of money, which is a large benefit to sports betting. Another benefit is that having the ability to place bets on sports, it can increase your enjoyment while watching the sport and also make it so you are able to get more involved.

Being involved in sports betting can also help you increase your knowledge of different sports and increase your sport literacy. This would not only make you more knowledgeable, but also would allow you to enjoy the game more. Sports betting can also come with a rather tight knit community which for some people is a huge benefit. Lastly, online sports betting is extremely convenient which can be considered an advantage for some.

However, in other ways the convenience of online sports betting can be considered a massive disadvantage. The ability to bet on whatever you would like, whenever you would like and right from your phone can cause serious addiction. With any betting you always run the risk of losing your money, Especially within sports, a game that is always changing. You may think you know exactly who is going to score, when they are going to score and what the outcome of a game will be, but with one wrong move, everything can change. This can cause you to lose all of the money that you placed. When you mix the aspect of unpredictability within sports betting with the convenience of it being on your phone and then add on top that gambling can be highly addictive, you can get yourself into seriously dangerous situations.

When gambling at any capacity, it is crucial to ensure that you are gambling responsibly and that you have responsible gambling practices in place. Specifically referring to your funds, you need to make sure that you are setting limits for how much you can afford to gamble, the same way you would set limits for how much you can spend shopping. When setting these limits make sure you are tracking and managing your money reasonably. It’s also important to be honest with yourself and recognize when problems could be arising. Make sure you understand the signs of a gambling addiction. If you begin to notice you are showing these signs, reach out and seek help and support for gambling addiction.

Photo by Logan Weaver

The sports industry has changed with how popular sports betting has become since the repeal of PAPSA in 2018, which lifted the federal ban on sports betting. In recent years, sports have seen a rapid decline in live viewership. It doesn't seem to be because there is a lack of interest, but rather with the rise of sports betting, fans only need to watch highlight reels to see what is important to them. This is causing networks to shift the game-watching experience to the sports betting atmosphere and giving fans a rejuvenated experience. Many networks have started displaying the live odds for bets to keep fans engaged.

Looking to the future, gamification (the application of typical elements of game playing to other areas of activity) will be a powerful strategy for making fans stick around for broadcasting as well as keeping them engaged. Moreover, sports betting is introducing a new social aspect to sports. Sports have always been a very social activity, whether that is playing with your friends in a park, tailgating or watching football every Sunday with your family. Now with betting being brought into the picture, there is a new way to interact with people all over the world.

Looking ahead, sports betting is expected to continue shaping the sports industry. Gamification will play a pivotal role in keeping fans engaged, and the integration of live odds and betting elements into broadcasts will further enhance the viewing experience. Additionally, the social aspect of sports betting has opened up new avenues for interaction among fans worldwide. As technology advances and new betting platforms emerge, the sports betting landscape will undoubtedly continue to evolve, impacting how sports are enjoyed, experienced, and celebrated for years to come.

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