Across the world, an increasing number of people are now placing bets on sporting events and other phenomena. Attracted by offers such as the Golden Nugget online promo code, more and more fans are flocking to online casinos and sportsbooks. From the US and Europe to Asia and beyond, one of the oldest pastimes in the world has been given a new lease of life and is surging forward – a surge largely driven by the ongoing rise and proliferation of digital technology.
A brief history
People have placed wagers on the outcome of sporting events for almost as long as there have been sports. In different countries and at different times in history, social changes may have made this more or less widespread and more or less socially acceptable. For centuries, however, it was a local phenomenon. National newspapers made it possible to follow and bet on big sporting events around the country. Radio and television followed, giving sports fans an unprecedented window on the world.
The rise of the internet
Towards the end of the last century, the internet age began, with instant global communications now a reality. Some of the first ever commercial websites were online casinos, and the popularity of online betting and gaming sites has only grown in the intervening years. As connectivity and reliability improved, so it became easier and safer to conduct monetary transactions online. Connecting to the internet via mobile devices made online life easier and more convenient, and improved networks meant that more of the world was able to get onto the web, and at greater speeds.
The market today
All figures relating to the global betting market are estimates, as regulations and research methods differ from country to country. Nevertheless, the global sports betting market is estimated to be worth around $250bn, according to data giants Statista. At present, only $39.7bn of this is generated by online sportsbooks – the vast majority (over $210bn) of that income comes from brick-and-mortar outlets such as casinos and horse tracks.
It may seem from these figures that attributing the growth of the betting markets to the rise of the internet is a mistake. However, online betting represents the fastest-growing segment of the market. 20% of all sports betting takes place via mobile devices, and that percentage is expected to reach over 45% just by the end of this year.
Sports betting in the US
Over half of all US citizens admit to having bet on a sporting event as some point in their lives. The real figure is probably higher, since there is still a certain stigma attached to gambling on sports in the US. However, the US sports betting market was worth $20bn in 2009, and had increased to a value of $40bn by 2016. In 2019, it is estimated at around $70bn. That’s an increase of around $10bn per year over the past three years.
Emerging and established markets
The biggest and fastest-growing sports betting market is the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for over 47% of the global market. Partly, this is simply due to the huge number of people this region represents: over four billion. However, it is also driven by increasing wealth in the area and also the penetration of reliable internet access into the region. Connectivity has increased with the availability of smartphones, making it far easier for individuals in remote regions to access the internet, without the need for a PC or laptop.
This connectivity not only gives access to online betting sites, but also gives faster and more wide-ranging access to news and information, including sports news. Rising wages means that more people in Asia now have disposable income to spend on betting. The region is also home to many locations that have long been major global gambling centers, such as Hong Kong and Macau in China.
Sports betting accounts for over 40% of global gambling revenue, and this will certainly increase in the coming years. This makes sports betting the single most popular form of gambling worldwide, more so than lotteries or casinos. As well as in the US and Asia-Pacific, sports betting is also on the increase in Europe and Australia, but as these are already well-established territories for sports betting, the increase is less dramatic.
It’s interesting to note that the fastest-growing sports market is eSports. In 2017, this generated $650m. That figure is expected to reach $1.5bn by 2020. The future of betting is definitely digital.