Sports betting has been around for centuries, but industry growth has rocketed since the inception of the internet. Today – online sportsbooks allow punters to wager on just about everything.
Novelty and cultural betting is on the rise – you can now place wagers on the name of the next royal baby, and on the next winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
According to the infographic – the online sports betting industry is now worth $74 billion to $100 billion — which is still a relatively small chunk of the entire industry. The entire sports betting market contributes $700 billion to $1000 billion.
The entire sports betting industry is similar to the GDP of the Netherlands to help put the sized into perspective.
So, how did the online sports betting industry get started?
It all started back in 1994 when Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade & Processing Zone Act. Intertops was the very first online sportsbook to launch in 1996 and a Finnish punter by the name of Jukka Honkavaara placed the first bet at Intertops.
It didn’t take long for sports betting to become huge – Americans wagered $60 million online on sports in 1996 alone. Despite having betting shops littered across the UK – the first online bookmaker (William Hill) didn’t launch until 1998.
Online sports betting quickly took a hold of the industry. In 2000 – BlueSquare opened a “Doomsday” market offering 500/1 odds that all real-world betting shops would be closed in ten years. I hope no one here bet on the market. Betfair also launched in 2000. They only accepted 36 bets on opening day, but as some of you know, Betfair has grown into the largest betting exchange in the world. An exchange is where punters create the odds and bet against each other.
Mobile betting has been all of the rage the last several years, but did you know the first mobile betting app was launched all the way back in 2003 by Sporting Index?
By 2006 the USA passed the UIGEA – making it illegal for banks and payment processors to process transactions. This forced many bookies out of the US market, although to this day it’s easy to find reputable sportsbooks accepting American clients.
Online sports betting in the USA topped $50 billion by 2009 – proving that despite remaining unregulated — Americans will always find a way to bet online with offshore bookies. You just may need to get a little creative with the banking method you use.
Today there are hundreds of sportsbooks accepting bets on the Internet and many are accessible on mobile devices.
The industry continues to innovate at this point – adding features unheard of ten years ago. For example, in 2011, Betfair became the first bookmaker to offer a “Cash Out” feature, allowing punters to cash out of bets anytime during the event.
If things went your way early in a match, you can cash out your winnings in-play at anytime.
Statista stated that the online sports betting market was worth $74 billion in 2012 and it has only grown since.
Here’s an interesting tidbit to leave you with. Bet365 – arguably the biggest online-only sportsbook — receives 11.1 million searches monthly for the term “Bet365”. Guess how many searches the term “Nike” gets monthly? 9 million.