Online sports betting is a fiercely competitive industry. If you want evidence for this fact, just watch the number of bookmaker adverts aired before, during and after a typical Premier League soccer game. Indeed, around half of the Premier League clubs wear betting brands’ logos as their principal shirt sponsor.
Outside of marketing and advertising, there is a scramble for betting companies to offer something different to grab new customers or to encourage their current customers to bet on sports. Of course, this sort of competition drives innovation in the industry, and a competitive market is healthy for the bettors.
The industry is evolving, but so too are the expectations of those who are betting on sports. Below are three trends that have been wholly embraced by bettors:
Request a Bet:
Bookmakers are using social media to personalize the experience for the punter. The idea of ‘Request A Bet’ (bookmakers have coined different phrases) is that the bettor can choose their own markets, then apply to the bookmaker, through social media or other means, to provide odds and accept the bet.
For example, you could tweet William Hill (they call their version #YourOdds) that you want to bet on a unique market, like two specific players hitting the crossbar during a Premier League game. The Twitter team passes it on to the trading team, who then upload the market on to the website. The person who requested the bet can access it, along with anyone else who is betting on the game.
The sheer number of bookmakers operating today means that they have to offer something to get customers to sign up, otherwise they will be left behind. Indeed, there are very few examples of major bookmakers not offering a financial incentive to join. For that reason, some punters will look for the best online free bets and promotions, use them, and then move on to another bookmaker.
Of course, bookmakers aren’t stupid. They will have certain limitations on free bets, such as a limited number of events you can use them on or a minimum threshold on the odds. However, if done properly and with discipline, it can be a lucrative exercise for the punter.
This one is perhaps only widespread among those who are committed to the culture of betting. Sports sites affiliated with betting will challenge their readers to reach a certain target for their sports betting, although this challenge can be simply initiated among groups of friends and followed through social media.
For example, they will be given a week to turn $100 into $1000 across a series of sports bets. It normally involves betting on short-priced favourites and could take place over a period of a week or longer. The success or failure of each bet is published during each stage, allowing other readers the chance to follow the progress or copy the bet themselves.
All three trends mentioned above demonstrate how the betting industry is changing. The use of social media especially is tearing down the barrier between bookmaker and customer, allowing punters to feel more immersed in the betting experience. It feels like a better deal for the person placing the bet, although whether the practices are sustainable for bookmakers remains to be seen.