It’s safe to say that the sports betting industry is larger than ever. According to Vantage Market Research, the sports betting market is valued at a staggering $81.03 billion in 2022 and is forecast to double that value by the year 2030 – $167.50 billion, to be precise.
The sports betting industry’s tremendous growth begs two questions: how did we get here, and more importantly, how do these numbers translate into business for the average bookkeeper? This article will explore the main factors behind this industry’s growth, the numbers, and how bookmakers can thrive in the current (extremely favourable) landscape.
The growth of the sports betting industry hasn’t occurred in a vacuum. While it might make the most sense to attribute the industry’s shift to the widespread adoption of Internet-based services and smartphones, we must consider that the Internet was already on a growing trend by the end of the Aughts and the beginning of the 2010s. By 2010, there were 1.97 billion internet users – an increase of 14% compared to the previous year’s 825.1 million users. There’s also the fact that internet gambling isn’t a singularly post-2000 phenomenon. Internet gambling predates smartphones by at least ten years.
The main reasons behind the sports betting industry’s growth were internet-adjacent, and all of them intertwined. To give you just one example, the shifting consumer habits caused by the ease of the then-new innovative technologies led leaders to invest more in growing digital infrastructure.
The growing digital infrastructure directly led to the uniformization of internet gambling and the introduction of new sports. Finally, as more and more users adopted gambling, companies had a greater incentive to create new technologies in a bid to differentiate themselves amongst the increasingly competitive gambling market.
Let’s take all these factors one by one:
Before the advent of the Internet, sports betting mostly fell in the “delayed gratification” realm. Essentially, bettors had to go to a physical place, place a bet, and wait for the event to end to see whether they’d won.
The Internet has changed that dynamic. Nowadays, bettors have more options than ever – a few taps on the phone are enough to access many sports and betting type options. The average bettor can place a wager on a football game one moment, switch tabs, and place another on an NBA match.
This proved to be a double-edged sword for many bookmakers because while the increase of options for bettors leads naturally to more business, this choice granularity also makes it hard for bookmakers to meet and keep up with the customer’s demand for variety. It’s rare to see a bookmaker offering just football or just a specific sub-niche of sports – they’ll often include eSports to tap into those audiences that are not necessarily interested in traditional sports.
There’s another facet to the shift to online. Not only has this entire process moved almost entirely online, but even the “waiting” part has gone through a change thanks to “in-live betting.” In-live betting is a form of betting that allows customers to place wagers on games that are in progress. This technology is possible because betting sites keep constantly updating odds in real time – which is made possible by the solutions provided by sports data providers such as OddsMatrix.
OddsMatrix is the leading sports data provider offering bookies the tools, data, and infrastructure to scale their business and attract customers.
OddsMatrix offers real-time odds data for a multitude of sports and betting markets. By integrating this data into their platform, bookmakers can gain access to accurate and up-to-date odds. They can then use that data to set their odds or adjust them based on market trends.
On that same note, OddsMatrix also provides live sports data. With access to real-time sports data, bookmakers can offer live betting (in-play betting) on various events. Live betting allows customers to place bets while an event is in progress. This is possible because odds are updated in real-time to reflect events during the game.
As stated above, sports bettors are hungrier for options than ever. It’s not enough to provide a few sports. Neither can sports and betting types be gate-keeping in various forms.
Consequently, bookmakers have expanded into more non-traditional sports. Enter eSports, a global market valued at $1.45 billion in 2002 and projected to grow to $6.75 billion by 2030. Naturally, eSports betting also features numbers that are just as dazzling. According to Statista, the eSports betting market is projected to reach $2.13 billion by the end of 2023 and $3.17 billion by 2027.
We’ve already covered the reasons in a different article. Still, in short, eSports, in general, and eSports betting, in particular, lend themselves much more quickly to the current consumption tendencies, favouring the digital sphere over the physical one.
Coupled with in-live betting and the intricate nature of video games, which is conducive to more complex and granular forms of betting, the underlying factors behind the explosive growth of eSports betting have become much more straightforward. The tremendous revenue generated by eSports betting naturally spilt over into the overarching sports betting industry. A staggering 4% of all global sports betting revenue comes in the form of eSports betting. More poignantly, total eSports wagers are expected to top $20 billion by the end of 2027.
Recognizing the importance of eSports betting, OddsMatrix provides the infrastructure and tools for bookmakers wanting to make their mark in this industry.
According to a September 2023 Business Insider article, 26 top venture capital firms and various other financial entities had been investing millions of dollars into sports. More specifically, startups operating in areas like sports betting, esports, sports technology, and analytics companies.
According to the same piece, investments have slowed down in the previous years, with sports betting and gambling startups having raised $150 million in VC (venture capital) funding as of August 2023. While that’s about $10 million short compared to the $160.3 million of 2022’s first half and a decrease from the $186.2 million raised in the first half of 2021, it’s still a significant sum of money that marks investors’ continued interest in this emerging market.
Technology has played a massive role in the proliferation of sports betting. Once, a bettor had their favourite betting shop or bookmaker if they wanted to place a wager. Online sportsbooks were an oddity if they existed at all. Now that every possible sports betting variant under the sun is readily available in the bettors’ pockets, one might conclude that the industry has reached a technological plateau. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The great thing about AI and machine learning, which are at the forefront of technological innovations in this industry, is that they benefit both sides, the sportsbook, and the customer.
The three main ways in which AI and machine learning are impacting the industry (personalized gambling experiences, detecting and reducing fraud, and improving the accuracy and efficiency of odds) benefit everyone because, in essence, both bookmakers and customers are seeking the same thing – making money in a safe, fair environment.
OddsMatrix embraces new technologies and helps bookies thrive by facilitating the process of integrating them into their business:
The sports betting industry has always moved at a rapid pace. However, a few ongoing trends can be identified and reasonably assumed to be valid for the next few years. The current sports betting industry trends at the moment are:
This is becoming increasingly popular as people move from traditional desktop devices to smartphones and tablets to place bets. According to the latest data, PC operating systems are down to 46%, while pocket-sized devices make up 58% of total usage.
Harkening back to shifting consumption habits, according to Uplatform, players like to bet online the most while commuting, followed by at work, and at a pub, with sports venues being the least popular location. In Europe, the number of bets placed is expected to make up 61.5% of all bets placed by 2026, an increase of 50.5% from 2021.
It’s a known fact that eSports are extremely popular, even amongst bettors who are not necessarily avid gamers. eSports also generate a lot of revenue for bookmakers.
This is another recent trend that is slated to speed up soon. In the United States, there is a noticeable will to create a legal framework for legalizing and making sports betting more accessible.
Sports data analytics are now an integral part of the day-to-day activities of every sportsbook. However, the demand for accurate data has paved the ground for an entire industry whose sole purpose is to innovate in this area and provide data solutions to sportsbooks. OddsMatrix, for example, provides bookmakers with data and tools to help them manage operations. In this respect, there is the bookmaker feed, which offers the following things:
Our solutions are designed to account for bookmakers’ operational needs and incorporate advanced analytics and algorithms based on predictive modelling to support features such as real-time data collection and automatic settlement engines.
The sports betting industry is more exciting and dynamic than ever. Sign up to OddsMatrix and let us help you thrive and scale your business.