Sports Betting Explained

So you are thinking about sampling sports wagering. As a newcomer, you have a huge advantage over those who came before you. The industry has matured and evolved, but like any other sector, there are pitfalls you can avoid and legalities you can be aware of with a little education.

Sports Betting – An Introduction & Primer

Welcome to sports betting, a hobby, profession, fanatical pursuit that comes with plenty of questions.

In many countries, sports betting is a normal part of everyday life for those who wish to throw down a few dollars on the local soccer game, cricket match or tortoise race. In England, wagering with one of the local bookies in town is an ages-old custom and the industry is licensed, regulated and taxed by the government.

In Canada, the provincial governments already endorse and run sports lotteries – parlay-style sports betting. Australia, Ireland and other nations have already moved in this direction.

When you hear tales of moral doom and legal gloom, it is usually news emanating from the United States, for here, governments have sought on numerous grounds to suppress, impede and outlaw it. This has hypocritically shoved a booming industry estimated to top $10 billion in 2006 – and the tax and licensing benefits it brings – to locate elsewhere. Recently, Justice Department officials have squeezed websites carrying casino or sportsbook advertising and have forced Visa and other credit card companies to stop offering their services to sportsbook or casino operators.

This is why you will find many of the online sportsbooks you will see advertised offshore, in Costa Rica, the Netherlands Antilles and other Caribbean or Latin American locales. You will notice more of the legal British books moving to take over offshore operations to gain a foothold with the aggressive North American bettor.

This is also why you should check your state or provincial laws first before deciding how and if you get involved. Some states prohibit it, others are actively trying to regulate it, while betting enthusiasts continue to question why off-track betting on horses is legal for out-of-state bettors, while chucking down $50 on the Rams over the Falcons is not .

Some government and justice officials fear it harks back to the Dark Ages when mobster bookies ran the show. In the US, a businessman named Jay Cohen who set up a sportsbook legally in Antigua was convicted in 2000 of violating the 1961 federal Wire Wager Act by soliciting and accepting bets from Americans.

For newbies, should you equate offshore books with shady dealings and scammers? No, most are licensed, regulated and many have parent companies with clout or are publicly traded. You must do your research and ask around (posting forums are excellent sources of information, but beware posters who are im-posters touting a book because they work for it), however, as dishonest operators – and incompetent ones – have come and gone in recent years.

So once you decide that this is for you, you need to identify the type of player you will be. There are four categories.

1. Professional. Yes, people do earn a living betting on sports. It is a fulltime job, requiring tons of research, tons of reading, tons of discipline.

2. Sports Investor. Applies the same discipline and mathematical study as a stock broker would in managing his portfolio. Done properly and astutely (you only need to win 55% of your wagers to make this happen) and usually with advice of the #1 type of bettor above, you can make it happen.

3. Recreational Bettor. You are watching the game on TV, having a few bucks on one side or the other keeps things interesting and actually heightens your enjoyment – or deepens your frustration – of tuning in. This is fun money, your recreational spending money.

4. Compulsive Bettor. You need to bet, you will bet on just about anything and pay little heed to your available bankroll. Do not be #4, if you fear you are or could be him, please contact these folks right away.

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