What is Sports Betting?
Sports betting is the umbrella term used for the betting action involved with the prediction of a sporting event and placing a wager on the outcome of that event in order to win money.
As one of the most popular forms of gambling in the world, sports betting typically involves wagers being placed on football, basketball, baseball, hockey, rugby, boxing, horse racing, car races, tennis, and more. In recent years, it has extended to other events that are not sports related, such as elections, reality shows, interest rates, beauty contests, and who the next American Idol will be.
Sports Betting Explained
Those who place wagers are known as punters in the UK and bettors in the USA. Punters and bettors alike can place wagers in various ways, through services offered by bookmakers, bookies, sportsbooks, betting agencies, and betting exchanges. Bookmakers calculate the odds for available outcomes on selected matches, races, competitions and other sports markets.
The term ‘book’ originates from the reference used by wagebrokers to track the details on wagers that are placed through their services.
Sportsbook services are generally online sources, and in places like Las Vegas and Reno Nevada, as well as gambling cruises, there are self-serve kiosks available for sports betting. These are the types of services that generally require money up-front for placing a bet. Bookies, on the other hand, do not require any money up-front, and only take money from those that lose, which can often result in a large debt owed to the bookie.
Wagering on an outcome, is essentially ‘backing’ that outcome. For instance, betting on one team to beat another team is ‘backing’ the team you are predicting to win. Bookmakers will only allow bettors and punters to back outcomes, however betting exchanges will allow bettors and punters to bet for and/or against outcomes. Wagers placed against an outcome is referred to as a ‘lay bet.’ For example, you can ‘lay a bet’ against a team or person to win. You win if that team or person loses, and you will lose if that person or team wins.
Multiple outcomes can be grouped together to create accumulators, which are common in sports betting due to the short prices available on, for example, football match favourites. Bookmakers provide live streaming horse races and also greyhound races to encourage customers to place a bet, and there are some mainstream bookmakers who screen live major events, such as football matches, rugby, cricket, and golf.
Mobile ‘Sports Betting’
With the increase of mobile device usage throughout the world, there is a substantial rise in online sports betting. Wagers are easily placed from your hand-held devices, and most online gaming is optimized for iOS, Android, Windows Smartphones, and Blackberry mobile devices.
‘Sports Betting’ Scandals
Sports betting has seen its fair share of scandals, such as point shaving (players intentionally not scoring points), officials making bad calls, fixed events, and more.
Perhaps the most famous scandal related to sports betting happened in 1919 during the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds World Series. It is noted as being the biggest sports scandal of all time. A professional gambler named Joseph Sullivan paid 8 Chicago White Sox MLB players $10,000 each to fix the famous event.
Other notable sports betting scandals have occurred throughout history in football, cricket, and tennis.
‘Sports Betting’ for USA Players
In the eyes of the United States government, no sports betting site or business is ‘legal.’ However, even though technically there are no ‘legal’ sportsbook websites, there are ‘safe’ ones located in offshore sites. The United States government has no means of enforcing the laws regarding, and they have no jurisdiction at the offshore online sportsbooks.
However, the government will enforce the law when it comes to anyone under 18 years old participating in any form of gambling, whether it is online or offline.
The Gambling Commission is responsible for regulating the sports betting industry while individual bookmakers carefully monitor suspicious betting patterns in an attempt to prevent gambling addiction.