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Showing results for tags 'sports betting'.

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  1. Online and mobile sports betting is seeing an amazing resurgence in interest around the world as more nations legalise online gambling. For many betting fans across Great Britain and parts of Europe visiting a bookmaker or growing up with one on every other corner is a normal part of life, making brands like Ladbrokes and William Hill widely recognised. In the US sports betting is just as popular with many states allowing legal betting. A New Jersey Supreme Court victory in May 2018 gave each state the right to allow or refuse to allow betting within its borders. Despite the global appeal and in most cases approval for the pastime, online betting is a fairly new option given that most jurisdictions focus on placing in-person wagers. In this guide to online betting, we will cover the basics of online betting. This will include some noteworthy terms, understanding decimal and other odds, what the most common bets are and how online sports betting bonuses work. ✓Online Sports Betting Basics To begin with it is important to understand why betting online is considered gambling but is legal in many regions where online casino gambling is deemed illegal or remains unregulated. The primary reason for this is the difference between games of chance and games of skill. When playing an online casino game, the random number generator (RNG) is the sole determining factor in deciding whether you win or lose. You have no chance to sway the odds in your favour, and there is always some doubt over the trustworthiness of the system controlling the outcome. The logical concern being that since someone owns the RNG-engine they could manipulate the outcome of any game. This is why it is not only the casinos who vie for licensing in regulated markets. Leading software providers such as Microgaming, Evolution Gaming and Playtech apply for their own licenses which allows for the regulator to inspect the accuracy and independence of their payouts. On the other hand, online betting is seen as a skill based bet given that you can look at stats and other pods of information to determine your stakes, the bookmaker uses these stats to offer various odds per game and of course the players use their skills when competing. These factors combine to make betting online not only an intriguing hobby but also one where your diligence plays into how successful you can be at it. ✓10 Betting Terms Worth Knowing If you are new online betting there may be some terminology on the betting sites and information sites you visit that sounds confusing. What does it mean when a bookie offers a “no vig” bet? What is the difference between a line bet and a parlay? Here are 10 betting terms that will help you navigate this entertaining market: Action – When a betting site refers to ‘action’ it is speaking of the bet or wager that is being placed on a contest. Vig – The ‘vig’ is the amount of commission a sportsbook takes from the wagers placed with it. It is also called the ‘juice’ in some regions. Odds – Odds not only display the likelihood of an outcome but also show the available value of a bet. When a bet offers “odds against” it means you will win more than your bet amount if you win on that wager, but it is less likely that this outcome will occur hence the bigger reward for your risk. Even (Money) – When a bet is deemed ‘even money’ the reward for winning is equal to the cost of the stake. As mentioned above this shows that there are no favourites in the contest as either team winning is equally likely. Teaser – A ‘teaser’ is a bet where the odds are boosted or swayed in favour of the person taking the action but in return the bookmaker offers a lower than standard payout for that bet. Hedging – This is where you place more than one bet with different bookmakers or on two games with different odds so that a loss on one of them could still see you make an overall profit. In-Game – This is when an online sportsbook allows their customers to place bets on a match after the game has begun. No Action – This is not a great thing to see but there are times when a game must be cancelled and, in this case, it will be labelled ‘no action’ and all wagers will be returned. Consensus – This stat shows you which percentage of bettors are either for a or a against a particular outcome. You can then choose to bet with or against the public leaning. Bad Beat – With sports betting as in online poker there are times that it looks like a game is a lock, then with a flip of its wrist fate turns the tables on you and your bet loses. When this sure thing becomes a losing ticket, it is called a ‘bad beat’. There are a host of other common phrases or abbreviations which you will see across betting platforms such as “Lucky 15” or “acca” but as these all relate to various types of bets; we will address those separately. ✓Types of Online Bets You Can Place The betting options available at online and mobile sportsbooks can be a little overwhelming at first. The scope of the bets you can place goes far beyond win-draw-lose, especially when you begin to delve into specific sports and their unique betting choices. Here is our list of the most common bets you will find when joining an online sportsbook: Line Bet – These are the easiest bets to get to grips with as you get to choose a simple outcome for the content. The most common of these is the ‘win bet’ where you choose which team will win and bet on them. Line bets can also include which team will lose and predicting a draw. Over/Under – This bet type will see the bookmaker combine the estimated scores of the two teams during a match and then you get to bet on whether you think they will exceed this total (over) or fall short (under). Point Spread – Here teams are given a point-based head start (underdog) or handicap (favourite). For example, Team A starts the match with +5 and Team B with -5, for the sake of the bet. You bet on which team you think will win the spread, taking into account the 5 point variance. Handicap Bets – This is similar to ‘point spread’ betting except you get to ‘buy’ points either for or against a team at the expense of a lesser payout if your betting slip wins. Parlays – These bets are also known as accumulator (acca/aka) bets, and all they are is when you choose to include two or more line bets on a single bet slip. To win you need to predict all bets on the slip correctly. The advantage is a boosted reward that exceeds the value of betting on those games individually to offset the additional risk. Teaser – This bet type combines parlays and spreads by allowing to buy multiple wagers and the pay to shift the odds in your favour. This type of bet is extremely popular in NFL and NBA betting because of the massive point variances these games offer. Pleaser – This works like a ‘pleaser’ bet but instead of shifting the odds in your favour you shift them against your bet. This makes the odds of winning lower but increases the overall payout if you win. Lucky 15 – This is a complex parlay bet that is very popular in the UK. It requires 15 bets comprised of 4 single bets, 6 double bets, 4 trebles and 1 four-fold accumulator bet. However, bookmakers will often add bonuses and odd boosts for this bet due to its outrageousness. Single/Doubles/Trebles etc – These are specific bet combinations offered by a sportsbook offering two, three, four and more bets with better than average odds. These have to be used in combination when playing a bet like the ‘Lucky 15’. Futures – These bets allow you bet in advance which team will win a league or competition. Prop Bets – These bets show the more tongue-in-cheek side of online betting. Prop bets or ‘special bets’ are wagers that are offered more for entertainment value than being a serious bet. An example would be betting on the colour of the referee’s lanyard that holds his whistle or whether the person opening the match stumbles before the first whistle blows. We recommend checking the betting section of your favourite sportsbook for the bets they offer on your specific sport as some sports have dedicated bets that you can only learn about as you become more aufeit with online betting. ✓How Decimal Odds Work when Betting Online When you visit an online sports book, you will see the available odds displayed in one of three ways, here we will explain what these are and how to read them: Decimal Odds – European sportsbooks prefer to display the available odds as a decimal point. In this case offering 1.5 on a match means you will get €1.50 back for every €1 you stake, which is a profit of €0.50. An even money bet is shown as 2.00 which means you will profit €1 on a €1 wager. Fractional Odds – This method of displaying the odds is popular in the UK and uses simple fractions to show the potential profit on your bet. For example, odds of 5/1 simple mean that you stand to win £5 for every £1 you bet. If you’re betting on the favourite to win however the odds will be shown as 1/5, meaning you will win £1 for every £5 you bet. American Odds – American sports betting uses $100 as the base unit for calculations. This means that odds shown as +200 mean you will need to bet $100 in order to win $200. Odds of -200 mean you need to bet $200 to win $100. This doesn’t mean you need to always wager $100 or more; it is just an easy unit of measure to calculate odds with. Thankfully most online betting operators include a toggle on their websites which will allow you to change the way in which the odds on the site are displayed. This will help you stay in control of the bets you’re placing regardless of where the operator is based. ✓Online Betting Bonuses Explained one thing we can always rely on when gambling online is access to a range of enticing bonus offers and promotions. Much like an online casino, sportsbooks offer their new and existing customers a range of bonuses to choose from including: Free Bets – All you need to do is create a new player account and claim the relevant bonus code to receive a number of free bets. These bets generally cannot be split across multiple games but must be used at once. Winning will also only see you receive the profit back, not the original free bet amount. Deposit Match Bonuses – By making your first real money deposit at a sportsbook you trigger a percentage-based match in bet credits which will be added to your account. These can be bet as you please, keeping in mind the relevant playthrough requirements of the offer. Enhanced Odds – These are bets with special odds, boosted in your favour which are awarded to new or existing customers as part of a promotional offer. No Vig Bets – Qualifying bets placed by players will not have any commission deducted for the sportsbook. No Risk Bets – Sportsbooks will offer new customers a promotional window within to bet and receive their losses back. These losses are generally capped at a specific amount like €500 and can take up to 48 hours to be credited back to your player account. As with an online casino bonus there is a wagering requirement attached to a sports betting bonus however this is often only between 1x to 3x the bonus amount. In some instances, these online sports books also offer casino bonuses - as they now offer a range of online slots and tables games for you to play between matches - where the same super low playthrough requirement is on offer.
  2. The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) and leading independent online gambling market data and intelligence firm H2 Gambling Capital joined forces to do an in-depth analysis of the sport betting industry. David Henwood, Director of H2, said: “Our assessment of the various regulatory models in operation around the world has determined the key factors that are most likely to generate a successful well-regulated betting market: unlimited licensing, competitive GGR tax, wide product offering, integrity provisions and balanced advertising parameters. That position and our betting product and integrity evaluation is based on the most extensive and detailed collection of market data that has ever been assembled. The report’s findings are therefore unique and illuminating.” The intent of the study was to use live data from existing sports betting markets to codify the earmarks of the ideal online betting market in the current market. To pull this all together the resultant report offered the following six data sets: A ranking of the current active betting jurisdictions Ten regulatory pillars for a strong betting market An evidence-based discussion of the availability of betting products A report on potential high-risk markets Key data points from evaluating €115 billion in bets placed A data-led evaluation of match-fixing and its financial implication Khalid Ali, CEO of IBIA, said: “The study and its contents can rightly be justified as unprecedented. H2 has conducted a detailed examination of product data covering €115bn in turnover, along with its own market data. The result is a report that provides a never seen before insight into global consumer demand, integrity risks and regulatory practices. In doing so, it reveals the core facets of a successful regulatory framework for betting.” The quality of the resultant study has subsequently garnered the praise and the support of the top global gambling jurisdictions including the UK Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS), the Brussels-based European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), the Spanish Online Gambling Trade Association (Jdigital) and the Netherlands Online Gambling Association (NOGA). Keeping It Short and Simple If you are someone who enjoys delving into rich data sets loaded with graphs, scales, and various commentaries then we highly recommend downloading the full 74-page report from the IBIA website. They have not locked it behind a paywall and it is freely available for any interested parties. However, for the sake of brevity we will be focusing on three key areas: which markets scored best and why they did so, the foundation of a strong betting market, and what H2 discovered by reviewing more than €1.3 billion worth of bets. 1. Which Jurisdiction Offers the Best Betting Model? The aim of the study is to not only review the current state of the online betting market but to also provide a model for regulatory bodies to use as a guideline. However, to achieve this H2 had to first determine which key metrics would be used to critique online betting as we have it today. To this end the company decided to utilise the following five data points: Regulation (scored out of /30) Taxation (scored out of /20) Product (scored out of /20) Integrity (scored out of /15) Advertising (scored out of /15) Each data points weight is represented by its overall contribution to the score of 100. As you can see ‘Regulation’ was weighed out of 30 while ‘Advertising’ was weighted as ‘15’. This shows the overarching importance of strong regulation and the need to score well in this area to be considered a valued betting market. ✓The Top 5 Betting Markets H2 used these scoring criteria to evaluate the 19 countries where online betting is offered. In total 18 of the 19 countries, they appraised all scored higher than 47 points out of a possible 100 points. Only 6 markets managed to attain the “attractive market” score of 80+ points: Great Britain – 91 points Malta – 88 points Denmark – 86 points USA (Nevada) – 85 points Sweden – 83 points USA (New Jersey) – 82 points The reason for Nevada and New Jersey having slightly different scores comes down to state-level decisions around taxation (19 pts vs 17 pts), the choice of betting providers (18 pts vs 16 pts) and a slight shift in the integrity score in favour of New Jersey (12 pts vs 13 pts). The only market to score a single-digit result was India who barely scraped together a rating of 9/100, with its existing regulatory framework scoring an abysmal 3 points.­ 2. The 10 Core Pillars of a Strong Betting Market By creating a matrix that balanced the highest scoring regions against the lowest scoring regions, H2 was able to define ten core values and offerings that were ubiquitous across the leading regions and either missing or abused in the weaker scoring zones. Based on this evidence they proposed the following market requirements: Betting must be available to bettors through both land-based venues and through licensed and regulated online partners. This provides freedom, choice and lowers the chances of them using unregulated sites. The licensing of betting providers must be either unlimited or set at a level that maximised operator and player interest. This negates the decision by some markets to offer monopolies to government gaming groups. Licensing fees must be in alignment with the costs of regulating the market. Safer gambling and player protection programs must be at the forefront of the jurisdiction development plans. The best balance for taxation lies in the 15%-20% of gross gaming revenue (GGR) range. Limited or no additional fees and taxes should be levied. Bettors need a wide variety of betting options including single-event bets, parlays, prop bets, fixed odds and more. Again, this safeguards them from being lured to unregulated betting sites. Allowance must be made for the operators to provide as many markets as possible, not be restricted by arbitrary limitations. The Gaming Authority needs to develop a robust set of protocols and processes aimed at promoting betting integrity. Advertising and sponsorships need to be carefully controlled to avoid abuse. This is of particular importance when it comes to celebrity endorsements, event sponsorships and social media accounts aimed at younger audiences. Finding the correct balance of these core tenets is not something that can be done overnight, however, based on this study most new and existing markets could begin to build their ‘better mousetrap’ by dissecting the regulations of the top scoring jurisdictions and evolving them to meet local needs. 3. Lessons Learnt from €1.15 Billion in Bets As the saying goes “the devil is in the details” and by not only reviewing the regulations on paper but digging into actual player behaviours, H2 was able to truly gain a sense of how well the market functioned, protected its players, and incentivised prospective business partners. To do so H2 employed its vast research and analysis resources combining both manual and AI-driven reviews of the betting behaviours evidenced in total bets placed worth €115 billion! The key takeaways from this analysis showed that: Betting integrity is incredibly high across the global market at 99.6%. This means that for every 2700 sporting events taking place around the world only a single alert is raised, many of which prove to be false positives when investigated. With only 1% of global turnover coming from in-play bets the assumption that only offering pre-game betting is safer has been proven to be a false assumption. 20% of all football-related betting alerts are generated by land-based betting venues disproving the assumption that online betting is more prone to fraud. The global regulated sports betting industry only loses €21 million per year to match-fixing. The basic stats go a long way to refuting the position held by many of the regions which rated poorly as to why they are hesitant to offer online betting, allow certain types of betting options, and as is the case with some countries, refuse to offer betting at all to preserve the sanctity of their sporting leagues.
  3. North America is experiencing a real shift when it comes to sports betting. While the USA is in the middle of a mass push to legalise online sportsbooks across many of its states, Canada could see some major law changes come to pass in its sports betting realms as well. These combined changes could see a massive shift in international revenue stats over the next few years, as American countries seek to compete with European markets for the title of ‘top dog’. Focus on the Maple Leaf Kevin Waugh, the MP for Saskatoon-Grasswood, introduced The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act amendment (Bill C-218) to the Canadian Parliament earlier this year as a Private Member’s Bill. The proposed amendment aims to target legislative changes to the Criminal Code that will allow for the regulation of single-event betting across Canada - a luxury that Canadians have not enjoyed to this point. Unfortunately, the law as it stands is costing the Canadian economy billions of dollars in revenue each year and is indirectly putting players in harm’s way. This bill has been long on the cards and has mustered great support from various sporting organisations, provincial governments, and businesses over the past eight years. Did you know? Some of the strongest propagators for the amendment to the current sports betting regulations include several famous sporting leagues such as Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Canadian Football League (CFL), and the National Hockey League (NHL). The consensus for change simply cannot go unnoticed anymore, so hopes run high that the amendment will get the thumbs up from the Senate committee (where it is at present) and be passed into law. The Current Canuck Conundrum Currently, in Canada, you can only place parlay wagers. This means that you must bet on the outcome of 2 or more sports events at the same time. Most other countries in the world allow single-event betting, which is evidently what most players prefer. Often, players just want to put money on their favourite team and leave it at that. As a result, bettors are looking elsewhere for their entertainment. Recent gaming statistics by the Canadian Gaming Association revealed that only a small number of Canadian bettors use regulated provincial sportsbooks for their gambling. The annual revenue is around $500 million in total. Alarmingly, illegal bookmaking organisations operated by organised crime syndicates absorb up to $10 billion a year in revenues. This is one of the biggest concerns for lawmakers and a big motivating factor to push the bill through and get the new regulation underway as soon as possible. Quick Fact: A 2019 police force bust on an illegal Hell’s Angel gambling racket in Ontario revealed that the biker group had generated around $2.5 billion dollars in illegal wagers over a five-year period. That is as much as all the collective provincial bookmaker’s revenues over the same period. Legal offshore sites are also drawing the crowds, taking $4 billion in revenues outside of the country per annum. To agitate issues, most of the U.S states bordering Canada have either legalised or are in the process of legalising online and land-based sports betting. This makes it easy for Canucks to cross the borders and play at betting shops that offer them what they want. The simple fact of the matter is that bettors would not have to look for riskier alternatives if the legal sites and betting shops in their areas would offer them what they are looking for. It’s seemingly time for Canada to step up and embrace the global trends that have been in place for many years already. What Bill C-218 Would Accomplish for Canadian Gambling There are three primary benefits that Canada can look forward to if the Senate passes the bill. ✓ Consumer Protection A regulated gaming climate is a far safer environment for bettors. The laws enforce stringent ethical codes which give you greater recourse should you feel cheated or hard done by. While many offshore sites run ‘tight ships’, there is no real protection for customers playing from outside of their regulated jurisdictions. Playing at illicit sites or placing bets at unscrupulous betting shops is a fool’s game. It’s not uncommon for them to run fabricated odds, and the risks associated with the bets are much higher. Disputes will simply fall on deaf ears and any attempt for lawful recourse could land you in hot water. Important! We recommend that you avoid illegal sports betting sites, including Canadian operators like ‘Ultimate Sportsbook’, ‘Titan Sportsbook’, ‘PlaytoWin’, ‘Privada’, and ‘Players Sportsbook’, to name a few. Reputable and regulated vendors are all problem gambling conscious and provide measures to promote responsible gaming to the public. As a result, the new bill could be an effective catalyst to combat gambling addiction in the Great White North. ✓ Economic Boost The Canadian economy is in for a boost in more ways than one. Firstly, if the majority of the player base returns to regulated sportsbooks, the industry would morph from a multi-million-dollar market into a multi-billion-dollar one. Not only could the government use the taxes gained from such turnover to increase its charitable works, but the growth of the industry would make room for greater employment opportunities and an expansion of the industry as we know it. The knock-on effect for food and beverage sales, alone, would be astronomical at betting shops as a result. ✓ Crime Prevention Drawing players away from illegal gambling sites and shops will effectively put a damper on the illegal market and result in diminishing criminal statistics. Illegal sports betting sites have raked in hugely off the back of a formerly stubborn industry. Legalising the betting on single-event outcomes could loosen the criminal stranglehold on the market. Round-Up The future looks bright for Canadian sports bettors and the gambling industry. If the bill passes its final stage, the Canadian market will be on equal footing with the hottest betting regions in the world. Together with the rapidly growing USA market, it could challenge revenues in countries like the UK. We are, however, not over the last hurdle yet. Private Member’s Bills are notorious for their failure rate in Canada. Thankfully, the morale is high with this one, as it has extraordinarily strong support on both a political and commercial level.
  4. With the proliferation of legalized sports gambling in the United States, it's never been easier for gamblers to lay action with a sportsbook. Online sportsbooks run by casinos and large commercial books now dominate the betting market. They have their advantages. With a few finger swipes, a player can lay money on a nine-leg parlay from their couch. They also have their disadvantages. Hit big, and your money may take five days to show up in your bank account. As Bitcoin and cryptocurrency grow in popularity, betting with it may be the best way for sports gamblers to ensure safety and swift transactions. Sportsbook betting with Bitcoin doesn't change the rules of the game, though. Whether you're laying cryptocurrency and cash, you want to win. Check out our five tips for Bitcoin gambling success. 1. Use Market Volatility to Your Advantage Because Bitcoin isn't a fiat currency or money issued by a centralized government, the market value fluctuates with high peaks and low valleys. This may feel dangerous to gamblers, but you can use this volatile marketplace to your advantage. Understand that when betting with Bitcoin, you're not only gambling on a football game, you're betting on the future market value. Let's explain. Most reputable sportsbooks that accept Bitcoin convert your deposit into American dollars. Upon withdrawal, that money is then converted back to Bitcoin at current market value. They do this to stabilize your deposit. If you invest in Bitcoin at a low market value, you get more. Purchasing Bitcoin at a market high means you get less. Your deposit strategy needs to be the opposite. If you deposit your Bitcoin at an online casino when the value is at a high, thanks to that conversion, your deposit will be larger. This means you'll have more money to bet, and like anything else, you need money to make money. Since your US Dollar amount is re-converted into Bitcoin upon withdrawal, doing so at a market low means more Bitcoin. If you withdraw at low market value, you're betting on the price rising again. When it does, you can re-deposit or sell your Bitcoin off for serious money. 2. Understand the Rules If you're thinking about gambling with Bitcoin, you must learn how to gamble on sports. While your best Bitcoin strategy is more involved than betting with government-backed money, the rules of the game remain consistent. When betting sportsbooks, you need to comprehend the basic terminology to win. Sports gambling can be a lot more complicated than people think. Though the esoteric aspects of betting are important, they all revolve around three basic bets. These examples use US Dollar amounts because your Bitcoin will convert to these units upon deposit. Moneyline Betting on the Moneyline is a bet on a team to win by any amount. We'll use a real-life example of an upcoming football game between San Diego and Buffalo. The sportsbook has San Diego +125 and Buffalo at -141. A '+' means San Diego is the underdog, while a '-' indicates Buffalo as the favorite. If you bet $100 on San Diego, you'll win $125. However, if you bet on Buffalo this way, you lay $141 for $100. Spread Spread bets add another complicated layer to gambling. With a spread bet, you bet on a team, but to cash, they must win by a certain amount of points. On the flip side, you can win on a losing team if they lose by less than that amount. Let's build on the above example. The book lists San Diego +2.5, while they place Buffalo at -2.5. The '2.5' is the spread. This means if you place a bet on Buffalo to win as the favorite, they must win by more than 2.5 points for you to cash. Should you bet on San Diego, you win if San Diego wins the game or loses by less than 2.5 points. Over/Under This is a bet you place on the combined total score of the game. Using the above example, the book set the number at 47.5. If you bet on the over, you win if San Diego and Buffalo combine for more than 47.5 points. If you bet the under, you win if both teams combine to score less. 3. Use Your Anonymity Sports gambling isn't a profitable business by accident. If you're a skilled gambler who bets big money, you may find you have trouble placing bets at traditional casinos or online sportsbooks. These businesses watch every dollar they pay out and who it goes to. If you're good, they'll limit how much you can bet. If you're exceptional, you might lose your gambling privileges completely. Since Bitcoin is mostly anonymous, you can use it to place really big bets you otherwise couldn't. 4. Take Advantage of Fast Transactions Professional gamblers play multiple sportsbooks for a simple reason. They offer different numbers. It's a basic betting strategy. Find the number you like and hit it. Gambling with Bitcoin makes this easier than ever online. Online casinos that only accept dollars can take days to pay-out. Bitcoin casinos transfer immediately. This gives you the flexibility to find the numbers you want to play at multiple sportsbooks. If one sportsbook has San Diego at +2.5, but another has them at +3, instantaneous withdrawal and deposit allow you to take advantage. 5. Bonus Bonus Bonus Sportsbooks love to offer bonuses to encourage play. Bitcoin sportsbooks are no different. To get more, search for deposit bonuses and frequent player bonuses. Many casinos who offer Bitcoin play prefer it to cash play. The transactions are easier and the market fluctuates. Because of this, many online sportsbooks offer Crypto Reload Bonuses that give you free money each time you deposit. Bitcoin Sportsbook Betting Bitcoin sportsbook betting is the future. With fast transaction times and a decentralized currency market, many sportsbooks and gamblers now turn to Bitcoin for profit. To be successful, learning how to use the Bitcoin market to your advantage is as important as knowing the rules of sports betting. If you can combine these skills, you can go from guppie to whale in no time. At gamblerspick.com, we offer the latest Bitcoin gambling news as well as a comprehensive listing of all the best bonuses. Check us out for all the latest industry trends and the news you need.
  5. For thousands of years, men and women have enjoyed the thrill of pitting animals against one another in various acts of speed, skill and even strength. As far back as 700 BC, folks packed arenas to witness the ancient sport of horse-drawn chariot racing. Horse racing, aptly named the sport of kings due to its popularity with the aristocracy, is one of the oldest known sports. Where competition flourishes, betting is sure to follow. This is no different when it comes to animal-based events. Horse betting continues to be the most popular of all animal competitions, with an estimated annual amount of $100 billion being wagered worldwide. Greyhound racing is another popular offering among punters. With annual bets of £2.5 billion, it currently ranks as the third-highest spectator sport in the UK, behind football and horse racing. Catching the Betting Bug As the world of animal-based sporting events continues to grow, audiences are now starting to look at less traditional options. This has resulted in bets being placed on some truly weird and wonderful animal competitions. Here are some of the craziest events to wager on: Hamster Racing: Hamster racing has become quite popular in Europe, especially the UK. Officially started in 2001, this event sees these furry rodents placed in miniature vehicles, hamster balls or hamster wheels, and racing across a straight 9-meter course to the finish line. Spectators are able to place bets on their favourite competitors through official and established bookmakers. Hamster racing has become so popular that there have been several well-publicised racing events such as MTV’s ‘HamTrak 06’. Cockroach Racing: Before you exterminate that cockroach that’s been running around your home, you may want to consider entering the elusive insect in the next cockroach race. This sporting event is incredibly popular in countries like Australia, where ‘competitors’ can be entered into an annual competition known as Australia Day Cockroach Races. This event, which has run for almost 40 years, features no less than 14 different types of races, depending on your cockroach’s level of skill. Cockroach racing is not only enjoyed for its entertainment value; plenty of bets are also placed on races. Kaninhop: Rabbits are no longer simply cute, furry pets to cuddle. They also have a competitive side! Kaninhop is an event that involves rabbits show-jumping their way through an obstacle course consisting of jumps of varying heights. Kaninhop is so popular that there are official federations dedicated to the sport. While the bulk of competitions occur in Europe, several events can be found in the USA and Australia as well. Official records are kept, with the current world record jump height pegged at 99.5cm. Snail Racing: If patience is one of your virtues, snail racing may just be for you. Officially dubbed the slowest sport on earth, this event consists of two or more snails racing on a circular track. Snails are placed at the centre of the track and the first one to reach the outer perimeter is declared the winner. While snail racing can occur almost anywhere in the world, much of it takes place in the UK. Amazingly, there is a snail racing World Championship, where snails from across the globe can compete for the chance to be anointed as the best in the world. While our list contains some our favourite bizarre animal and insect sports it barely scrapes the surface of the unusual events you can find around the world. Join the GamblersPick community and share your favourite local or international critter-based sporting event with us. A Virtual Race to the Finish Virtual race betting, around since the early 2000s, has grown into one of the UK’s most profitable gambling markets. Virtual horse races are computer-controlled events that aim to simulate the real-life arena of horse or dog racing. Outcomes are determined by a random number generator, meaning that results are completely fair and unbiased. Virtual race betting carries several key advantages for players. Bettors do not have to account for variables such as non-runners or past form. This makes wagering easier, even for novice players. Also, with bookmakers offering races around the clock, players do not have to wait long to enter another race. Lastly, virtual racing means that there are no judges’ decisions to wait on or racetracks to be cleared. As a result, players can expect to winnings far quicker than at a real-life track. Animalistic Slots Entertainment Due to the popularity of animal-based sporting events, it is no surprise to see this as the central theme of many trendy casino slots. Here are three of the most popular options available: ✓Mega Moolah Progressive slot: Microgaming’s Mega Moolah slot is the undisputed king of animal-themed slots. The reels of this millionaire-maker progressive jackpot slot tells the tale of a wild African safari, replete with zebras, monkeys, giraffes, buffalos, elephants and kudus. It is against this backdrop that players can set out to win any one of four jackpots This wildly popular progressive slot currently holds the world record for the biggest ever online win – a whopping €17.89 million! ✓Raging Rhino slot: Another popular animal-themed option is Raging Rhino. Created by SG Gaming, this 6-reel, 4 row slot offers players no less than 4096 pay lines. Raging Rhino sets the perfect scene of an African plain at sunset. A variety of wildlife roams these slots, including a beautifully-designed leopard, baboon, crocodile, eagle and, of course, the raging rhino. With a respectable RTP of 96%, this online slot is worth checking out. ✓Cats and Cash slot: This feline-friendly slot is the brainchild of the creators at Play N’ Go. The 3x5 reels carry a distinct 80s retro feel, with each of the cat characters looking dapper in their respective outfits. Don't come expecting cat toys and catnip on these reels, the game comes with custom symbols including a diamond necklace, a stack of cash and gold bars. With 15 pay lines on offer, as well as two bonus rounds, Cats and Cash will certainly leave players with that purrfect slot experience. Unleash Your Animal Instincts Animal-based sporting events provide a wonderful outlet for people to release their competitive nature, without physically taking part themselves. While we love our animals, we also secretly take pride in watching our favourite creatures beat out the competition. It doesn’t matter whether the competition is horse racing or snail racing, the desire for conquering the opponent exists within us all.
  6. Horse racing is one of the oldest and most widespread sports in the world. During a horse race, two or more horses ridden by jockeys compete by traveling a set distance as quickly as possible. For many spectators, the appeal of the sport is betting on the winner. Racing is one of the only forms of gambling that is legal in most of the world, and the sport's global market worth is around $115 billion. Origins of Thoroughbred Racing The practice of racing horses dates back as far as 4500 BC. Nomadic tribes in Central Asia were the first to domesticate horses, and it is likely that they also established the sport. Racing was an organized sport for all major civilizations in ancient history. For example, in ancient Greece, there were Olympic events for chariot and mounted racing horses. The specifics of racing in other ancient civilizations is not well established, but historians believe that it was a widespread practice. Modern racing dates back to the 12th century in England. Professionals rode horses that were up for sale during competitions to display their speed to potential buyers. English knights also returned with Arab horses after the Crusades, and over the next several hundred years, many Arab stallions were imported. Then, these horses were bred with English mares to produces horses with great speed and endurance. In the 1500s, Henry VIII imported horses from Spain and Italy as well. In the early 18th century, racing horses became a professional sport in England. Courses emerged across the country, and purses got larger and larger, which made owning and breeding racehorses more profitable. With so much money at stake, the sport also needed skilled horse jockeys, which provided prestigious career opportunities for working-class men. In 1750, the Jockey Club was formed to create rules around racing, establish sanctioned courses, and regulate breeding. The organization still regulates racing in England today. Racing in America British settlers brought thoroughbred racing to America in the 17th century. The first racetrack in America was built in 1665 in Long Island. Racing remained a well-liked sport, but it didn't achieve widespread popularity until after the Civil War. Perspectives on racing also changed during this time. Before the Civil War, stamina was the most important quality in a racehorse. After the war, speed was the goal. During industrial expansion in the late 1800s, racing and gambling became massively popular in the U.S. By 1890, there were 314 tracks in America. Racing grew quickly without any regulatory organization or governing body, which meant that many tracks became enmeshed in criminal activity. However, in 1894, the biggest track and stable owners formed the American Jockey Club and successfully eliminated most of the corruption. In the early 20th century, an antigambling sentiment was passed that almost completely destroyed the horse racing industry. By 1908, only 25 tracks remained. Then, when pari-mutuel wagering was introduced to the Kentucky Derby, many state governments legalized this form of gambling in exchange for a portion of the money wagered. This allowed more tracks to open, and by the time World War I ended, racing was once again popular in America. In 1951, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame opened in Saratoga Springs, New York. The museum honors the most successful horses, horse jockeys, trainers, and owners throughout history. The sport lost popularity again in the 1950s and 60s. In the 70s, it experienced another resurgence because of horses like Secretariat and Affirmed. These horses won the American Triple Crown by winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. Breeding and Studbooks Private studbooks had existed since early 1600s, but they were not all reliable. In the late 1700s, James Weatherby, the Jockey Club's secretary, was tasked with tracing the pedigree of every racehorse in England. In 1791, he published An Introduction to a General Stud Book. Subsequent volumes continue to be published in order to record the pedigree of the descendants of these horses. Today, all modern thoroughbreds in England can be traced back to one of three stallions: Byerly Turk, Darley Arabian, or Godolphin Arabian. These three horses are known as the foundation sires. The American Stud Book was first published in 1868 and included foals from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Many other countries have their own studbooks to trace the lineage of their thoroughbreds. The English and American studbooks had reciprocity until 1913, which was when the English Jockey Club passed the Jersey Act, disqualifying many thoroughbreds that were bred outside of England and Ireland. This was done to protect the British thoroughbred horses from American horses' sprinting blood. However, when several French horses with American ancestry had victories in English races, the English Jockey Club rescinded the Jersey Act. Famous Horses There have been numerous famous race horses throughout history. Here are just a few of history's most notable horses: Kincsem: The mare Kincsem was foaled in 1874 in Hungary. She had an undefeated career for four seasons and won races in Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, France, and the U.K. Several famous racehorses are descendants of Kincsem. Man O' War: Man O' War was foaled in 1917 in Kentucky. Also known as Big Red, he won 20 out of the 21 races he ran. His only defeat happened during a restart where he was not given enough time to re-position before the race began. Seabiscuit: Seabiscuit was foaled in 1933 in Kentucky. He lost his first 17 races but experienced a major improvement under a new trainer. After sustaining an injury, he made a miraculous comeback and won in 1939, which made him a symbol of hope for Americans during the Great Depression. Arkle: Foaled in 1957 in Ireland, Arkle is considered by most to be the greatest steeplechase horse in history. He won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1964, 1965, and 1966, and he won the Irish Grand National in 1964. Secretariat: Secretariat is widely regarded as the greatest race horse of all time. He was foaled in 1970 in Virginia and was the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 25 years. In 1973, he won the Belmont Stakes in what is considered one of the best rides ever completed. Racing and Betting Today From the 1980s to today, racing has gradually declined in popularity in the United States, most likely because there has not been another Triple Crown winner. About half of states in the U.S. have thoroughbred tracks today. State racing commissions now have the sole authority to grant racing dates and to license the participants. They share the power to appoint officials and regulate racing rules with the American Jockey Club. However, the horses, jockeys, and trainers are all independent contractors. Wagering is one of the biggest appeals of racing and is likely the reason the sport has lasted for so long. American tracks all use a pari-mutuel wagering system, which was created during the late 1800s. Under this system, a fixed percentage of the total wager, typically between 14 and 25 percent, is removed for taxes, track costs, and racing purses. The remainder is divided by the number of correct wagers to calculate the payoff. The odds are regularly calculated and posted on the toteboard during the wagering period before the race. For example, if the odds are three to one, the bettor receives $3 for every $1 wagered if their bet was correct. The three typical pools are win, place, and show. A win occurs when the horse finishes first, a place occurs when the horse finishes first or second, and a show occurs when the horse finishes first, second, or third. Bettors can also wager on a daily double, which involves selecting the winners of two consecutive races. Another popular wager is the exacta, which is a bet on the first and second place winners of one race in the correct order. The quiniela is also a bet on the first and second place winners, but they do not have to be in the right order. Although racing is not as popular today in America as it used to be, it is still a well-known spectator sport and form of gambling. With such a long, rich history, thoroughbred racing will likely continue to be a massive industry for the foreseeable future.
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