Once upon a time the key technologies used in sports betting were a newspaper and a short pen. Why the pen had to be so short is one of life’s enduring mysteries, but things have moved on massively since the old days.
Where regular sports betting was once the province of only a tiny proportion of the population – usually male, working class and urban – thanks to the universal connectivity that the internet allows it has shifted over the past decade to a far broader constituency. Online betting is now a mainstream activity enjoyed by ever growing numbers of women as well as men.
And just as the numbers of players has grown, so has the sophistication of the software that allows them to play. For example, it is now possible to use a single provider – such as the British-based Betfair organization – to find a specialised betting app for just about anything you can think of.
As the betting market has exploded, gamblers’ requirements have also grown ever more complex. Contemporary punters now operate at a level of detail that would have shamed many a professional only a few short years ago. Specialised bots now produce the sort of real-time market data and automated trading tools that were once the province only of the bookmakers’ backroom staff.
As a consequence, what has happened is a professionalization of the betting industry. Punters are increasingly referred to as traders, and the simple matter of sports betting has given rise to a massively intricate series of financial betting opportunities. You can bet on the movement of stocks, shares and currencies. The days of backing a horse because the name appealed are a thing of the past, regardless of what the stats say.
We are all bookmakers now. In fact, betting has become professionalised to the point where simply enjoying a ‘run for your money’ is about as outdated as those stubby little pens that high street bookmakers used to supply.