The industry of sports betting was standing still for a long time, but significant changes are expected over the next years. These changes will probably benefit the player rather than the house, and there are doubts as to whether traditional bookmakers can even survive once online betting becomes decentralized.
Of course, nobody knows exactly what is going to happen, but we do have some ideas. Here are 7 predictions for the somewhat near future of sports betting.
A shift towards crypto
Bookmakers operating with cryptocurrency have been on the market for about a decade. But the popularity didn’t start rising until 2017, and in 2020 we saw lots of new operators enter the market.
Betting with cryptocurrency brings many benefits to the player. Fast deposits and withdrawals are some of the appealing things about crypto, but also the fact that no sensitive payment information is needed. Cryptography protects all parties which is hugely beneficial. And then there is the simple fact that “internet money” is simply perfectly suited to online gambling.
There will definitely come some new cryptocurrency sportsbooks that will take some market share from the traditional bookmakers. The question is whether the normal bookies want to follow along and add Bitcoin and Ethereum to their systems. We don’t know that yet, but in any case, crypto bookmakers are here to stay, and you can already bet with crypto right now.
Betting could become decentralized
Cryptocurrencies are more than just currencies. Some of them are systems. Ethereum, for example, can be used to create smart contracts – absolutely ideal for betting. Chainlink or Band Protocol – these are other crypto projects – supply decentralized oracles which make the ETH smart contracts work.
We are not far away from a decentralized betting world where players won’t have to sign up with bookies if they want to bet. They can simply enter safe smart contracts with other players where everything works automatically as soon as the bets are placed.
Read our essay, DeFi will revolutionize sports betting.
A huge, collective market
In continuation of the previous point, we can expect a huge, collective betting marketplace to appear. Sort of like an exchange à la Betfair, but decentralized and with almost non-existent fees.
Of course, this will be a disaster for the established bookmakers and the current exchanges, but it will be highly beneficial to the players, and nobody can do anything to stop it.
If everything really will run on cryptocurrencies, smart contracts and oracles, this is what to expect. Similar to how different cryptocurrencies are now being traded online in a decentralized way. Perhaps there will be several markets or decentralized betting exchanges in the beginning. But once there is an exchange that manages to establish liquidity and low enough fees, there should simply be a huge, free and collective market where any bettor in the world can bet against any other bettor.
No geographical restrictions
Decentralized betting also removes all geographical restrictions. It will simply not matter anymore if betting is not allowed in a country, or if a site is not licensed – because everything can be executed anonymously, so anyone with an internet connection (and potentially a VPN) will be able to place bets as he pleases.
Even now, many of the cryptocurrency bookmakers are not really operating with geographical restrictions nor KYC processes. So this is a taste of what to come, and if someone manages to do it right, there could be a completely free betting market.
More legal controversy
However, the lack of geographical restrictions and the lack of KYC bring some obvious legal issues. For example, a player from a country where betting is illegal will be able to bet anyway (completely anonymously).
Governments and banks like to know everything, but this will just not be possible here. So we could also see a future where they will attempt to make online betting illegal in most countries, and perhaps where winnings are heavily taxed when you cash anything out to your normal bank account.
The biggest issues that we can all agree on are that persons younger than 18 will be able to bet with no restrictions, and that decentralized betting will make it impossible for persons with an addiction to restrict their gambling. Something will have to be done to avoid these things, but on the other hand, it is already easy for underaged persons to place bets, and the normal bookies are already preying on gambling addicts through heavy advertising, bonuses and “special” VIP programs.
A sharper market
Since there won’t be any limits on a decentralized betting market where everyone can bet against the market, it will also make the market very sharp. That is simply because the syndicates, the professionals, and the high rollers won’t be limited the same way they are now, so they will be able to place huge amounts and influence the odds. That is already what is happening at the Asian bookmakers and at the top exchanges, but it will be even more pronounced in the future.
Way more props and unique opportunities
If we can really bet with the technology of smart contracts and oracles in the future, it should also be possible to bet on just about anything in the world. Sports, politics, events, situations, even the weather in a special location. Obviously, we are mostly interested in sports betting, and in this category, there should be so many more props than ever before.
Even if decentralized betting won’t even become a thing, we can still expect the normal bookies to add more props. They have continuously added more and more options over the years, so the betting market is growing, and there should be many more opportunities in the future.
These were our predictions for the future of sports betting. Do you have any predictions of your own? Or do you want to comment on ours? Write in the section below!