Gambling is one of the oldest pastimes in the world, which today has also become one of the biggest industries in the world thanks to advances in technology. And within the gambling industry, sports betting dominates.
The interesting thing is that it isn’t only punters who are drawn to the gambling industry. In recent years, technology giants and finance powerhouses have also started moving in on the world of sports gambling.
According to the Economist, the reason for this shift in the industry is algorithms that can very accurately predict game outcomes.
How Did Algorithms Become a Part of the Gambling Industry?
Algorithms are a set of rules that are created for solving problems. It is a process that is normally used in calculations, data processing and other such applications. Algorithms can be designed to pick out trends in sports data to accurately predict the outcome of a sporting event.
This trend began in the US back in 2002, when the Oakland Athletic’s General Manager Billy Beane attempted to assemble a competitive team using statistical analysis of baseball’s in-game activities.
The team went on to win a record-breaking set of baseball games.
Since then, this form of data analysis and calculation of odds has spread to almost all sports. Bookmakers soon realized that they could use the same data to predict wins for their betting odds. They first used this method to calculate win as well as goal expectancies for football matches about 10 years ago.
Technology Becomes the Game Changer
In the beginning, statisticians would sit with reams of data and manually calculate the odds for bookmakers. Because of resource constraints, this method of prediction was used only for the most important matches.
However, with the advent of the computer, things changed dramatically. Algorithms were created that were self-learning and able to analyze diverse sets of data. The more powerful computing devices got, the more complicated sets of data could be analyzed. This also meant that in-play betting became a favorite with punters. Today, in-play betting constitutes about 60% of all sports betting that takes place.
Soon, it wasn’t only the bookmakers who were using algorithms and computing technology to predict the outcomes of games. Bettors also began to make use of this technology to win some serious cash.
The Advent of the Betting Exchange
And with the evolution of the internet, punters could use their special algorithms to skip bookmakers, bet directly against each other. They were able to do this on online platforms called betting exchanges, thereby revolutionizing the entire online gambling industry.
So, what is a betting exchange? A betting exchange is simply a platform where punters can get together and bet against each other, without the need for a bookmaker to be involved at all. Bettors can offer or request odds from each other on all kinds of game statistics.
The reason why betting exchanges are so popular is that they do not get any of the wins. So, if you are a punter and you use a betting exchange, all you do is pay a small fee for using the platform, and you get to keep all the money you win for yourself.
Further Advances in Technology
Today, thanks to smartphones, sports bettors across the world can bet on their favorite games, players, leagues and so on no matter where they are. With most people around the world connected to the internet pretty much all the time, 50% of the online gambling market will be controlled by the mobile gambling market by the end 2019.
This explosion of growth in the mobile gambling market is because of the sheer volume of gambling apps that have been customized for smartphones. What this has done is allow bettors across the world to make bets on the go and whenever they want.
Why Brick-and-Mortar Betting Shops Still Survive
There are two main reasons why brick-and-mortar betting shops are still able to survive in this cutthroat industry. The first one is that there are still many people who prefer the atmosphere of a betting shop, versus the impersonal and rather isolated nature of online betting.
The second, more important reason is that most online betting sites will only accept credit card or bank transfers for all transactions. Considering the lack of cyber security, many people are scared of gambling online using their cards or even their bank accounts. The risk, they feel, is too high.
However, online gambling websites are now beginning to offer other, safer payment options to their customers, so traditional betting shops may have a huge struggle to stay afloat in the near future. The online gambling industry is continuously evolving, with the next big thing slated to be virtual reality, where players will be able immerse themselves in a total gambling experience.