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What are the differences between gambling and sports betting?

Published on August 9, 2017, 10:51 am

by Jeff Grant Twitter account Jeff Grant LinkedIn account

Today, gambling is relished by millions of punters worldwide. The arrival of mobile devices and super-sonic internet connections has made it possible to play some of the best online casino games while waiting in a queue or stuck in a traffic jam.

There is no black or white solution regarding the superiority of casino gambling or sports betting over another. A sports fanatic with a penchant for wagering may dabble into casino gambling here and there, but will often consume a significant chunk of his or her betting budget on sports.

However, it is also an open secret that collectively (online and land-based facilities) casinos have always done better than the sports betting industry. Statistically:

  • Since the onset of the 21st century until the year 2015, sports betting has obtained an estimated growth of over 5%.
  • In the same time span, online casinos achieved an approximate growth of more than 8%.
  • The sports betting market share has slightly declined from 14% in 2007 to 13.9% in 2014.
  • In the same time frame of 2007 to 2014, the market share of casinos rose from 32% to an impressive 35.1%.

Notwithstanding the above, the global internet sphere is where sports gambling break the bank. Numerically:

  • In 2013, the total global gross betting was a gigantic £326 billion. However, only 14% of it was generated through regulated betting.
  • There is a steady compound growth rate pattern of 5.4% in the above mentioned period of 2000 to 2015, primarily driven by progressive technologies and product platforms.
  • As per the final numbers of 2015, online sports’ gambling is responsible for about 50% of the global online betting and 70% of the mobile gambling market.
Size of the online gambling market (2003-2015)
Size of the online gambling market from 2003 to 2015 (in billion U.S. dollars)

Now, let’s discuss some fundamental differences between casinos and sports gambling, respectively:

In casino betting, the house or the casino establishment has a mathematical edge over the wagering punters. Although, the house will not always come out on top and occasionally a punter with a lucky streak would make hay of gold. The odds are that in the longer run, the gamblers would lose more than they may win.

Alternatively, in sports gambling as well betting on horse racing the odds are similarly stacked against the bettor. This is because wagering on horses is a gamble against other punters as the odds are ascertained by the total sum of betting money on each horse. More significantly, after applicable taxes and race track’s profits are deducted from the gambled amount on the top three successful horses. The remaining sum is divided among the punters who gambled on these horses. Still, the favourite picks in each race only taste victory on an average 1/3rd of the time.

This effectively means that in sports gambling, a punter has to shell an additional sum of money other than the wagered amount, which as detailed above is reserved for the house. The vig, as this added commission is referred to by the gamblers is kept by the house irrespective of a punter’s winnings or losses. The so-labelled point spread, the total points a bettor has to give in any game such as football, tennis or hockey levies more odds against the punter. This means that even if a person bets on a winning team, but that team does not win by more points than given by the punter, the bet would still be a loss for him or her.

Casino Gambling VS Sports Betting

In light of the rationale above, it is not hard to see why casinos are witnessing a greater growth than sports gambling as well as other forms of betting such as bingo and betting exchanges.

Today, casinos are continuously adding more exciting features to their already attractive offers, something that is hard for the sports betting industry to replicate. Therefore, it is quite hard for a beginner to avoid the razzmatazz of casinos, particularly the brick and mortar types.

The reality of 2018 is that sports’ betting is still one of the UK’s fastest growing portions of the online betting industry. Moreover, the expansion of the online segment is also sluggish compared to preceding years as more sports punters are turning their eyes to the flashy slots machines or the classical roulette wheel.


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