Sporting events are turning out as a major constituent of the gambling business. Games such as American football, soccer, basketball and cricket see huge betting activities.
Historically, gambling was restricted to sporting events such as horse racing. With time, other events were wagered upon. Many different types of betting can be done on sporting events. The simplest and most common is the betting on the end result, known as fixed betting. Several other forms exist, depending on the game and the player. The entire revenue that sports gambling generate is huge. The UK sports gambling industry alone sees profit in excess of $2 billion. The United States of America has 118 million regulars that gamble on sporting events.
The effect of the internet on the sports gambling industry has been nothing short of a phenomenon. Players have been allowed greater flexibility and faster processing. In the early parts, online betting was restricted to a few pockets of growth in Latin America and in Australia. The brief legality was curtailed in another setback to the growth of online business in 2006. The growth of sports betting has been in double digit for the better part of the decade.
Some form of betting or the other takes place even in non regulated countries. In the Indian context, this example can be exemplified by the Indian Premier League scandal that revealed vast networks of underground betting circles. By not regularizing sports betting, governments are choosing to let go of large amounts of revenue. The Indian stance on sports betting is exemplary. Even China’s attitude towards betting on sports is similar. However, Africa offers an ideal setting with gambling being a major source of state revenue.
However, the opportunities present in the context of sports betting come with their own set of drawbacks.
- A large share of the total bets placed is illegal. United States passed legislation in 2006 to curb the mal effects of illegal online betting. However, the problem persists. An example, at Nevada, a firm pleaded guilty of amassing over $2 million by means of illegal online wagering in 2012.
- At the centre of all match fixing scandals lie the inherent threat of illegal betting.
- Social stigma still remains a problem in the third world that is expected to be the driver of growth. Reports from South Africa point to the fact that gambling and wagering bets are not considered healthy. South Africa has 250 bet shops compared to the 9000 in England despite the population of the two nations being identical.
Considering the global viewpoint, North America and Europe are still the hubs where the regulated sports betting business is phenomenal. A major player of Europe ‘Bwin’ has annual revenue of over $700 million. Such high stake business comes with its own backlash as well. A prime example in this was the U.S. legislation curbing transfer of banking. Nevertheless the industry stays promising, and we all together will set new trends of the game.