Sports Betting in the UK: its Popularity and Dangers

Sports betting, land-based or online, is a subject of heated debates in the world. There is no uniform opinion about its legitimacy. Some countries encourage sports wagering activities; some strictly forbid them, banning sports betting altogether from their lands; there are still some that are in two minds whether to allow or prohibit sports betting: they give the green light to online wagering but disallow land-based gambling or vice versa; or they proclaim betting illegal for locals but permissible for foreign visitors.

Into the category outlawing sports betting fall the majority of the Muslim countries: the United Arab Emirates, Brunei, Qatar, Lebanon, Bangladesh, and Jordan, among others. There are anti-gambling laws also in Cambodia, North Korea, Japan, Singapore, Cyprus, Nigeria, Uganda, Barbados, and Ecuador. The countries that shuttle between allowing and forbidding sports wagering are Iceland that permits land-based gambling but bans doing this online; Italy and Latvia, where some online betting is outlawed; Poland that cracks down on all gambling but sports betting; Russia, where everything is illegal except for online poker and online casino gambling; and Ukraine that vetoes all gambling activities save online lottery. But there are also countries where sport betting is blossoming and where economy is thriving because people love to predict games’ outcomes. The United Kingdom, where even the Queen is rumored to discuss the development of a match with UK bookmakers, can be placed the first on the list of such countries.

Indeed, in the UK, sports betting is an indispensable part of its culture. Football teams proudly wear the names of gambling companies on their shirts: West Ham United spots Betway logo; Newcastle United is sponsored by Fan88; Bournemouth is a partner of M88, and the members of Wolverhampton Wanderers display the symbol of W88 on their uniform. Sports betting is so widespread in England that many people think that it skirts alarmingly close to becoming a kind of national addiction. According to recent statistics, there are 430,000 adult problem gamblers, and two million fans are in danger of developing the addiction, too. What sounds even more disturbing is that in the UK, children aged 11-16 place wagers on sports, with 25,000 of them already showing a clear sign of the gambling addiction.

Yet no unpleasant statistics curb people’s enthusiasm for sports betting in England. Here, you can bet on different sports and in a wide variety of ways. Waging can be placed even during the game not only prior to its beginning, as is usually the case in the rest of the world. Fans try not only to foresee the outcome of the match but also predict who will score the first goal or the last one, and whether there will be a draw before the first-stoppage time. Equally spiritedly, they guess the match’s score in the final 5 minutes and the name of the first offender sent to the bench with the red card. As incredible as it may seem, UK bookmakers even invite sport fans to invent their own bets and offer them a rich arsenal of betting strategies with which they can try to put some extra money into their pockets.

If you are in the United Kingdom and want to try your hand in sports betting, you need to zero in on your favorite sport and then choose a betting strategy which you fully understand. Note that a variety of sports on which you can wager in England is large. Football, basketball, American football, hockey, boxing, golf, tennis, mixed martial arts, handball, and eSports are available for wagering here. Bookmakers also offer entertainment and political menus and exotics on special events. A range of betting strategies is equally impressive. You can bet using moneyline wager, point spreads, over-unders, prop bets, futures, accumulations, progressive parlays, and full cover bets, though some of these strategies are simpler and more popular than others.

The strategy that outshines others in simplicity and popularity is moneyline, considered a traditional way of betting in several sports. On whatever sport you prefer placing your money, you can employ this strategy that requires you simply to predict the winner of a game or match. In those sports where only two players are involved – boxing, golf, or tennis, you root for one of them to win. You similarly back one of the teams in such sports as hockey, basketball, and handball, except for football. Betting on a football game is different, because its outcome can be a draw. A moneyline wager here is on the win-draw-win market; that is, you can put your money on either of the two teams or support the draw. There are three different formats in which moneyline bets are usually presented. Although the moneyline (-100 vs +130), decimal (1.40 vs 2.22), and fractional (15/20 vs 17/20) formats look dissimilar, they reveal to you the same information about the bet: on whom you place your wager, who is favorite to win, and what is the potential payout you may receive, if you guess correctly.

What you also need to understand when using the moneyline strategy is that the amount of money you win depends on the strength and popularity of the player or the team but in a reverse order. The stronger and more famous the player or team is, the less money you will receive from a bookie. This is undoubtedly fair. If Chelsey is playing against, say, Brechin City, ranked the weakest English team, you do not need to be a clairvoyant to foresee that Chelsey will win. Now, allowing everyone to bet on Chelsey and win would bankrupt any bookmaker. To prevent their financial loss, bookmakers estimate who is the favorite in the game and who is the underdog, assigning a value to how much in each direction they think they are, which is called moneyline odds.

Together with a number, bookmakers also put valence. The plus sign (+) alongside the number signifies the player or the team who is the underdog. The minus sign (-) marks the potential winner. The number after the plus or minus sign tells how much of a favorite or underdog the bet is. The bigger the number, the bigger the favorite or underdog. A player that is estimated by bookies as       -222 is a bigger favorite than a player that is -90. The same logic applies to underdogs. A team that is assigned the number +1400 is a bigger underdog than the one with +650. How big a favorite or underdog a player or a team also determines your payout for a correct pick. Another factor that influences the amount of money you win is the public’s overall betting on a particular occasion. Therefore, even if you wager the same sum of money every time, the amount you win will not be the same.

The moneyline strategy in sports betting is easy to master. As long as you understand how to calculate your potential payout and know the value of your every bet, you will be able to make money from sports betting, even if you do not strike gold at the very beginning. It is estimated that if you start betting with £100, your twelfth-month profit may amount to £5,000, provided you devote to betting an hour of your time a day at least five days a week. But you can gain more. British people betting on sports on average make a thousand pounds a month. You can join the club and easily do the same.