“If you want to be a serious bookmaker in the UK you need a presence in horse racing…but overall, for the industry as a whole, football is currently in the ascendency” – Andy McIver 2013 (Former CEO of Sportingbet)
While “the sport of kings” (horse racing) continues to enjoy immense popularity with Cheltenham raking in millions over the course of their annual four day festival. Football is beginning to take the edge.
Let’s take a look at the facts and figures:
1996: Intertops.com becomes the first company to offer online sportsbook with a punter from Finland making the first bet on a match between Tottenham Hotspurs and Hereford Utd.
By 2000s online betting revenue was worth billions with horse racing being the frontrunner for sports betting and online casino gaming taking the lions share. This is not surprising as popular casino games including slots and table games such as poker and blackjack were the first to go online.
It is important to note, that many of the online betting companies who offer sportsbook as well as casino such as UNIBET were still in their infancy during the early 2000’s. Today of course sportsbook is big business for many companies including UNIBET who offer a huge range of sports including football and horse racing to choose from.
Skip forward again to 2016-17 where we see the prize pay-out for Chelsea FC’s Premier League win reach over £150 million. Compared to only a total prize of around £4,500,000 which was split over the four day Cheltenham Festival 2017. Although prize money is funded by sponsorships it would be fair to say that where the money goes people will follow and vice versa.
We all know that football is big business, between player and management salaries and mammoth sponsorships. The latest transfer rumours posted by CaughtOffside cite many of the players who are now worth serious money, we’re talking mega millions some would say a king’s ransom.
What’s changed in online betting?
While the casino games or sports such as football haven’t changed much, the way they are brought to us is. No longer do we need to visit casinos or bookies to take part in the action. Today everything we want in relation to online gambling is accessible to us via the touch of a button. Companies like UNIBET even offer live betting. Live betting offers football fans the chance to take part in even more action as a match unfolds. This has totally revolutionised betting on football matches offering punters more opportunities.
“Online betting at Unibet is fast and easy. You can bet on a huge range of sporting events plus finance, politics, weather and showbiz.” UNIBET website
Another change in online betting is the profile of users. We all have a stereotype ingrained in our heads about who bets on sports right? Over the years this stereotype has been wiped out as online betting has become more accessible. Year on year bets are made by people who wouldn’t usually fall in to this known stereotype. The new online gambler is now almost just as likely to be a female as a male. Also taking a bigger part of the market are students many of whom use online betting as a way to supplement their small incomes.
So does online football have the edge on online horse racing? At the moment the answer is unclear as we are still undergoing a period of transformation in online betting. However, we can say this.
Although the “sport of kings” isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, football is likely to edge the race in the online betting world. In the meantime, we have plenty of action to enjoy from both sides. For Football fans dreading the summer break don’t panic, you can still get your daily football fix from CaughtOffside.