Let’s face it. Not everyone can play football.
Setting aside the limited number of positions even available on teams, there are tremendous physical and mental requirements necessary to be successful as a footballer. It’s just not for everyone.
That is why the sports betting world is so popular with football fans. Bettors can participate in the action from afar. A simple bet is a personal investment in the outcome of the game or the season, and it makes people feel as if they’re competing as well. It is a way to get in the game, no matter the amount of the bet or the worth of the gamble.
Gambling is a part of human nature. People are naturally competitive, physically and mentally. Betting allows everyone to participate in a competition, and it has been going on since humans began keeping records of contests and sporting events. It adds excitement to any event and can pay off financially in the end as well.
Overall, Sportradar estimates that the sports match-betting industry is worth between $700 billion (£435 billion) to $1 trillion (£625 billion) per year. And data analysts say that 70% of it is bet on football, whether done via licensed or black-market bookmakers, and whether in betting shops or on the internet.
Football bets can take many forms, far beyond wagering on the score of the game. Online casino and betting apps offer bets on everything from penalties to player actions, from scores at various times in the games to full season results. Bets can focus on handicaps, goals, or specials, which include simple bets such as red cards or player-specific bets, such as those based on Luis Suarez to bite another player. These types of bets attract gamblers because it gives them more of a sweat, more of a reason to take an interest in every aspect of the games. And the more types of bets available, the more players will gamble.
Of course, some betting is done on the black market, but that is happening far less in today’s world because of the plethora of online gambling options available to bettors. And the best mobile casinos and gambling apps are not only more reliable than ever, but they are licensed and regulated by supervisory bodies like the UK Gambling Commission.
The increased amount of betting in recent years is a result of numerous factors, including the availability of the aforementioned online gambling options, as well as the ability for more people to watch games around the world via the internet and satellite television. While not everyone who watches football bets on the games, those who make multiple bets per game make up the difference.
More attention is being paid to the details of football betting because of recent incidents of match-fixing. Regulators and other governmental agencies, such as Europol in the European Union, have taken to investigating incidents and accusations, and they have begun to implement harsher penalties to discourage match-fixing from happening going forward. With the integrity of the game of football and the beloved pastime of betting on football games at stake, it is important to stop the criminal element from burying itself too far into the industry.
At the end of the day, both football and gambling, and the many ways they intertwine, will survive. The games and betting operators may be required to adhere to more stringent regulations, but most will adapt and carry on. The millions of sports fans who tune in to every football game will have it no other way.