Sports betting is slowly becoming one of the most popular worldwide hobbies. In the past, it got seen as a somewhat taboo subject in many places. However, that perception is dwindling year-on-year, with the COVID pandemic contributing to this trend, as its emergence at the start of 2020 led countries to see the importance of legalizing gambling activities as a new tax income stream. Today, market evaluation firms like Pune-based Grand View Research predict this sector will hit annual revenues of $182 billion in the next seven years, growing at 10.3% yearly.
According to insiders, the ever-growing number of sports leagues and events has produced a positive influence, with the evolving regulatory landscape and proliferation of internet infrastructure virtually everywhere also playing a massive role. Furthermore, people currently have more disposable income than ever, and the appearance of blockchain and AI tech has enhanced betting software prediction algorithms, taking this market to a whole new level.
It is funny how quickly Internet sportsbooks began to dominate this sphere, with the online platform segment showing the most substantial growth rate (12.0%), with football registering the highest market share (more than 24.0%) as the most favored sport people like to bet on. Without question, the transformation of the gambling landscape, particularly the rise of PayPal betting sites has been amazing to witness. Two decades ago, wagering enthusiasts primarily had to lay down bets in back-alley parlors with shady bookies. Nowadays, they can do so legally on their phones at any time. And that evolution is outlined below.
According to historians, the first documented evidence of individuals betting on sporting events can get traced back to Ancient Greece, when the people who lived on this part of the Old Continent wagered avidly on the Olympic games, chariot races, and pankration contests. So, there is little doubt that, in antiquity, this was an established entertainment form, and per writings, it was somewhat mainstream in the Middle Ages.
Nevertheless, the term bookmaker, as we know it today, originated around the early 19th, with this label deriving from the practice of these acceptors of bets keeping physical ledgers where they would record them. In the mid-1850s, the UK passed laws that regulated gambling activities and formalized the betting process in some scope. However, it was not until 1961 that betting shops in Britain became fully legal and widespread, creating a super recession- resilient businesses.
Online gambling became a reality in 1994, quickly following the birth of the World Wide Web. That happened thanks to the nation of Antigua and Barbuda choosing to pass into law its Free Trade and Processing Act, which allowed companies to operate gambling-related businesses over the Internet from this country. In 1996, Curacao followed suit, and so did the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake.
While in the 1990s, these so-called offshore bookies regulated by the mentioned bodies and others like them from regions like the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Panama, and Alderney were the only options, post-2000, many countries created their licensing organizations, approving and monitoring this industry within their borders.
Over the two decades that have passed, this sector has undergone a significant transformation, driven by novel payment systems such as online prepaid vouchers, e-wallets, cryptocurrencies, and it has even allowed gamblers to stake digital in-game items, such as CS:GO skins. Moreover, everyone is betting via their smartphones now on platforms allowing in-play wagering and feature live streams.
Modern high-end bookies also utilize advanced data analytics and machine learning algorithms to personalize offers for users, manage risk, and appropriately set odds. Blockchain technology has also enhanced transparency and security in the gambling arena, and AI, through new measures, has taken customer care and fraud detection to previously unimaginable heights.