Betting on sport has been around since the dawn of civilization.
Actually, that is not an exaggeration. The first recorded incidents of gambling on competitive sports betting comes from over 2000 years ago, as spectators liked to have a flutter on the ancient Olympic Games in Greece.
The betting world has evolved many times down the years, from carnivals to pubs to betting shops, while the most recent evolution has come with the advent of the digital age, as the first online booking sites popped up as early as the mid-1990s. Let’s explore what the move online has meant for betting.
Betting wherever, whenever, on whatever
So, previously we had to go down the bookies to place a bet, while now we can bet online, is that the whole story?
Going to the betting shop took real time out of your day, you had to go there at the hours it was open, and you had to plan in advance what bets you wanted to make.
Now, thanks to the betting apps we have on our phones and betting sites on our laptops, we can think of a bet we want to place while in the middle of our busy, hectic day, and within seconds find the odds and have the bet placed.
Not only that, the internet has opened up thousands more betting markets, allowing us to place a few quid on everything from Ecuadorian football to Japanese racing.
The convenience and choice we have been enjoying over the last few years is light years ahead of anything the betting world had seen for thousands of years before!
The best bookies by sport
Pre-digital, not only were you limited to the handful of high street betting shops within reach, but also to the range of sports and markets they offered.
Nowadays, that is all so different. When we want to place a bet on the opening race at Cheltenham, within a couple of taps we can be on an app that offers the best horse racing odds. Then, we can head to the best football betting sites uk wide to find out where we will get the best odds on our weekend accumulator.
From hockey to handball, you can see which is the best betting app for the sport you want to bet on. Some sites may only offer bets on the match result, while others offer which bowler will have the best figures in the cricket, who will get the most rebounds in the Lakers-Knicks game and how many games Djokovic will drop in his first round match.
Thanks to the digital betting revolution, you can find the bet you want at the best price.
Offers and bonuses
Let us tell those of you who are not old enough to remember betting before the digital age; back in the days of betting shops, no one was offering you anything for free just for walking through the door!
However, that is not the case with the modern, technological equivalent; signing up for a betting site or app.
As the online betting world is hyper-competitive, bookmaker apps are jostling for position on your phone, hoping you will click “download” on them, and they do this by enticing us in with sign-up offers – usually a free bet, or a bonus once you have made your first deposit.
Such offers are not limited just to new customers, with money back offered on certain horse races, odds boosts on particular footballers to score, free bets handed out for depositing a certain amount in your account, and many, many more.
While free bets are never quite as “free” as they seem and such offers come with endless lists of terms and conditions, they can be real positives to our betting experience when used wisely.
The bookmakers of just one generation ago would probably have laughed at the idea of so many bonuses and freebies for customers, yet these offers have become a real mainstay of online betting so quickly.
Critics of the online betting world will be quick to tell you how having the means to bet 24/7 on unending numbers of markets will lead to addiction and financial problems.
Irresponsible gambling certainly can lead to such issues, as does far too frequently. Yet, since the online betting evolution began, we have been able to control our betting habits like never before.
Setting deposit limits, trackers that make you aware of your winnings and losses over a period of time, freezing usage of your accounts so you can go through a cooling-off period and campaigns within the apps themselves to promote responsible gambling are just a few of the ways that prevent punters from turning a fun hobby into a damaging addiction.
In the twentieth century, the only way you could be stopped from gambling was if the local bookmakers barred you from their betting shop, which they would likely only do if they thought you were winning too much and certainly not if they kept taking your money off you!
While the risks are still there, we have so many better methods in place to keep things fun and enjoyable.