Imagine the scene – huge television screens showing the NFL game of the week. You relaxing in a comfortable chair in the casino sports book, betting live and instantaneously on a tablet device – a device offering prices on dozens of myriad potential outcomes, sports betting markets that open within seconds of an NFL play completion. This is sports betting on steroids, and Las Vegas – the entertainment capital of the world – is fittingly the scene of this remarkable live betting revolution.
Now in place at the Venetian, this new concept in betting was bankrolled to the tune of $150 million by Cantor Fitzgerald, an investment bank and brokerage firm. Taking the form of Cantor Entertainment Technology – the spinoff company has created bookmaking software that produces live odds using similar technology as can be found in a Wall Street brokerage.
It would be interesting to see how much of a margin is built into these live markets. If a typical casino stance is the order of the day, the punter will be finding it tough going betting into markets with a reasonably large negative expectation. We would have to see what is on offer there to really make an assessment.
For us down here in Australia, our lawmakers have mixed feelings when it comes to online betting. “Traditional” betting on sports is thriving here online – for Aussies, placing a bet on nearly anything is possible through the multitude of corporate bookmakers and even the betting exchange Betfair – provided you do so before a market goes live. Once a market is live – the interactive gambling act (2001) makes an online live bet impossible for bookmakers to offer to Australian residents. Calling up the Betfair call centre or taking live (but poor) odds in a TAB outlet are some of the current options for the Australian sports bettor.
This is why the Vegas situation described above would be so appealing to Australian punters (who have proven their appetite to bet on anything), but also has casino administrators and owners licking their lips. High-turnover gambling is a casino’s bread and butter, the only thing better than making a margin is making a margin at a faster rate, which having thousands of live markets throughout a game will provide to them. Instead of betting once before the contest, betting options will seem endless. Corporate bookmakers here in Australia would similarly love to offer this to clients.
Speaking as a sports investment service, without seeing the prices offered for these new live in play markets, it is difficult to state how beatable a proposition these markets would be. Betting options with a large choice cannot be a bad thing for selective, risk intelligent sports betting casino patrons.
On the other side of the coin, there is no doubt that things could get ugly for gamblers who lack control and are likely to chase losses – they now will not even have to wait for the next matchup on the card, with the the option now available to chase it all back on an obscure live bet concerning the next pitch.
Will we see live betting via an iPhone app here in Australia soon? Eventually it is very likely, although the timeframe surrounding this could be far from soon. English punters have been enjoying unrestricted live betting online through Betfair for a long while now, and may be the most likely first step here as well. What is certain is that the betting landscape doesn’t remain static for very long.