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How In-Play Sports Betting is Threatening to Overtake Traditional Card Games

by Matthew Wilkinson

The sports betting juggernaut is showing no signs of letting up. In 2015, the U.K. Gambling Commission (UKGC) revealed that in-play sports betting generated a gross gaming yield of £1.358 billion, with an additional £139 million raked in by online sports betting exchanges. There are two sports that are maintaining the upward curve of sports betting revenues: football and horse racing. Together, these two sports generated £765 million. When you consider that revenue from remote card games, such as blackjack and baccarat, amounted to £205.39 million in the U.K. ó according to the UKGC ó itís clear that the sports markets are now dominant in the remote and offline betting sector.

Peer-to-peer poker remains another widespread facet of remote casinos, generating £101.2 million in gross gambling yield during the same period. Although online poker networks such as Unibet still offer a choice of tournaments and cash games, their online sportsbooks now attract significantly more traffic. With tens of thousands of sports markets to bet on and many live games to watch via live streams, sports betting has become a 24/7 phenomenon.

Itís an excellent money-spinner for sportsbook operators as they know that punters often think they know best when it comes to judging the outcome of live sporting events with their eyes. Nevertheless, the unpredictability of live sports is what makes it such a moment of theater, and sometimes a punterís perception is undone by a moment of bad luck or misfortune.

The punterís loss is the operators gain, of course, but there are also times when punters can get better value bets in-play. For instance, a soccer team that is the home favorite is beginning to drift as the clock ticks down, despite dominating the game. A punter could place a bet on the favorite with 30 minutes remaining at a much higher price while still having a good chance of them creating a winning goal in the latter stages. Itís a similar case with horse racing where on-course punters and those watching at home can place bets on horses in-running that look like they have the potential to move to the front as the race progresses.

In-play sports betting replicates that fast betting action that bettors have experienced traditionally with card games and slot machines. Thereís no longer a need to wait the full 90 minutes for a soccer match to complete; itís possible to place a bet 10 minutes from the end and reap the rewards much quicker. In todayís time-poor, low-patience consumer world, that is a huge boon for punters.


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