There are many of us who are old enough to remember the time when sports betting effectively meant betting on the outcome of either a horse race or a greyhound race. By “outcome” in this context one means simply which runner would be the winner, or which would come in placed.
It was not unheard of for a person to place a bet on a football match or an important boxing bout. Nonetheless the grim, smoky street corner bookmaker’s shop was essentially synonymous with horse racing more or less to the exclusion of any other sport.
Today the situation is a great deal different. Walk past the now more inviting frontage of any bookmaker’s and you will be brazenly invited to predict the score of the next major soccer game and the name of the first or the last player to score a goal. Prices are offered on many sports and “long list” coupons are every bit as freely available for soccer punters as the small slips are for the more traditional horse racing enthusiasts.
Of course by far the biggest transformation in the culture of betting accompanied the arrival of the Internet as the means through which we now spend most of our time communicating with the outside world. Not only do all the traditional high street bookmakers such as Ladbrokes, William Hill, Coral and Paddy Power all have a major online presence, but they are in company of the large US-facing offshore sportsbooks such as Pinnacle, and also of some much smaller and more obscure outfits whose budgets had never stretched to a chain of shops but who all the same are able to manage a website.
Online sports betting has drastically altered the culture of gambling for all time. Hobbyists and professionals alike can now place wagers at the click of a mouse, and can even where necessary lay their selections at one of the betting exchanges to lock in a guaranteed profit.
Not only are there quite literally hundreds of times more sportsbooks available to the everyday punter today than was the case before the Internet intervened, but the range of sports that are covered has mushroomed similarly. Whereas at the old betting shop the focus was largely on horse and greyhound racing with a smaller emphasis on football and maybe a couple of other big sports when the occasion arose, customers of the online sportsbooks can select from between a very substantial array of lines on sports as diverse as soccerrugby union, rugby league, cricket, boxing, volleyball, motor racing, darts, snooker and US sports (football, hockey, baseball and basketball), as well as current affairs, politics, stage and film awards and reality TV. Some of the continental books also offer prices on such enormously well-known sports as trotting, bandy and innebandy.
And not only is there such a selection of sports to choose from, but there are also all sorts of options available within each selection. So with a soccer match, for example, one can bet not just on the winner of the fixture but also on the number of goals scored, the name of the first scorer, the total number of goals, the time of the first goal, the total number of corners taken and the number of bookings to name but a few.
With there being literally tens of thousands of different markets on such an immense range of sports the proliferation of odds comparison sites at which customers can compare betting odds was always going to become an inevitability. Through interrogating each particular sport, event and line the customer can very rapidly establish which particular book is offering the most generous betting odds in every instance.