Sports betting is the activity of predicting sports results and placing a wager on the outcome.
Types of bets
United States of America
Aside from simple wagers such as betting a friend that one's favorite baseball team will win its division or buying a football "square" for the Super Bowl, sports betting is commonly performed through a bookmaker or through various online Internet outlets. The many types of bets include:
- Proposition bets are wagers made on a very specific outcome of a match. Examples include guessing the number of goals each team scores in a handball match, betting whether a player will score in a football game, or wagering that a baseball player on one team will accumulate more hits than another player on the opposing team.
- Parlays involve multiple bets (usually up to 12) and will reward a successful bettor with a large payout. For example, a bettor could include four different wagers in a four-team parlay, whereby he is wagering that all four bets will win. If any of the four bets fails to cover, the bettor loses the parlay, but if all four bets win, the bettor receives a substantially higher payout (usually 10-1 in the case of a four-teamer) than if he made the four wagers separately.
- Progressive parlays. A progressive parlay involves multiple bets (usually up to 12) and rewards successful bettors with a large payout, though not as large as normal parlays. However in a progressive parlay, unlike a regular parlay, a reduced payout will still be made even should some of the bets lose.
- Teasers. A teaser allows the bettor to combine his bets on two or more different games. The bettor can adjust the point spreads for the two games, but must get all the games correct to win and recognizes a lower return in comparison to parlays.
- If bets. An if bet consists of at least two straight bets joined together by an if clause which determines the wager process. If the player’s first selection complies with the condition (clause), then the second selection will have action; if the second selection complies with the condition, then the third selection will have action and so on.
- Run line, puck line or goal line bets. These are wagers offered as alternatives to straight-up/moneyline prices in baseball, hockey or soccer, respectively. These bets feature a fixed point spread that (usually) offers a higher payout for the favorite and a lower payout for the underdog (both in comparison to the moneyline).
- Future wagers. While all sports wagers are by definition on future events, bets listed as "futures" generally have a long-term horizon measured in weeks or months; for example, a bet that a certain NFL team will win the Super Bowl for the upcoming season. Such a bet must be made before the season starts in September, and winning bets will not pay off until the conclusion of the Super Bowl in January or February (although many of the losing bets will be clear well before then and can be closed out by the book). Odds for such a bet generally are expressed in a ratio of units paid to unit wagered. The team wagered upon might be 50-1 to win the Super Bowl, which means that the bet will pay 50 times the amount wagered if the team does so.
- Head-to-Head. In these bets, bettor predicts competitors results against each other and not on the overall result of the event. One example are Formula One races, where you bet on two or three drivers and their placement among the others. Sometimes you can also bet a “tie”, in which one or both drivers either have the same time, drop out, or get disqualified.
- Totalizators. In totalizators (sometimes called flexible-rate bets) the odds are changing in real-time according to the share of total exchange each of the possible outcomes have received taking into account the return rate of the bookmaker offering the bet. For example: If the bookmakers return percentage is 90%, 90% of the amount placed on the winning result will be given back to bettors and 10% goes to the bookmaker. Naturally the more money bet on a certain result, the smaller the odds on that outcome become. This is similar to parimutuel wagering in horse racing and dog racing.
- 2nd half bets. A 2nd half(Second half) bet is also sometimes called a halftime bet. This bet is placed only at halftime of a particular sporting event. This bet can be placed on the spread(Line) or over/under. The resulting bet that is placed is won or lost only on the points scored by both teams in the second half only.
- In-play betting. In-play betting is a feature offered by some online sports books that enables bettors place new bets while a sporting event is in progress. 
The general role of the bookmaker is to act as a market maker for sports wagers, most of which have a binary outcome: a team either wins or loses. The bookmaker accepts both wagers, and maintains a spread (the vigorish) which will ensure a profit regardless of the outcome of the wager. The Federal Wire Act of 1961 was an attempt by the US government to prevent illegal bookmaking. However, this Act does not apply to other types of online gambling. The Supreme Court has not ruled on the meaning of the Federal Wire Act as it pertains to online gambling.
Bookmakers usually hold a 11-10 advantage over their customers—for small wagers it is closer to a 6-5 advantage—so the bookmaker will most likely survive over the long term. Successful bookmakers must be able to withstand a large short term loss. (Boyd, 1981)
Many of the leading gambling bookmakers from the 1930s to the 1960s got their start during the prohibition era of the 1920s. They were often times decendents of the influx of immigrants coming into the USA at this time. Although the common stereotype is that these bookies were of Italian decent, it has been proven that many of the leading bookies were of eastern European Jewish Ancestry. (Davies, 2001)
Odds for different outcomes in single bet are presented either in European format (decimal odds), UK format (fractional odds), or American format (moneyline odds). European format (decimal odds) are favored in continental Europe, Canada, and Australia. They are the ratio of the full payout to the stake, in a decimal format. Decimal odds of 2.00 are an even bet. UK format (fractional odds) are favored by British bookmakers. They are the ratio of the amount won to the stake. Fractional odds of 1/1 are an even bet. US format odds are favored in the United States. They are the amount won on a 100 stake when positive and the stake needed to win 100 when negative. US odds of 100 are an even bet.
Decimal Fractional US HongKong Indo Malay 1.50 1/2 -200 0.50 -2.00 0.50 2.00 1/1 +100 1.00 1.00 1.00 2.50 3/2 +150 1.50 1.50 -0.67 3.00 2/1 +200 2.00 2.00 -0.50 Conversion formulas x To Do this Decimal Fractional x-1 , then convert to fraction Decimal US 100*(x-1) if x>=2; -100/(x-1) if x<2 Fractional Decimal divide fraction, then x+1 Fractional US divide fraction, then 100*x if x>=1; -100/x if x<1 US Decimal (x/100)+1 if x>0; (-100/x)+1 if x<0 US Fractional x/100, then convert to fraction if x>0; -100/x, then convert to fraction if x<0 Decimal HongKong x-1 HongKong Indo x if x>=1; (1/x)*-1 if x<1 HongKong Malay x if x<=1; (1/x)*-1 if X>1
In Asian betting markets, other frequently used formats for expressing odds include Hong Kong, Malaysian, and Indonesian-style odds formats. Odds are also quite often expressed in terms of implied probability, which corresponds to the probability with which the event in question would need to occur for the bet to be a breakeven proposition (on the average).
Many online tools also exist for automated conversion between these odds formats.
In the United States of America, it is illegal to operate a betting scheme, except in a few states. In many European nations bookmaking (the profession of accepting sports wagers) is regulated but not criminalized. The NCAA has threatened to ban all playoff games in Delaware if the state allows betting on college sports. New Jersey, which is also interested, has been similarly threatened. Interestingly for New Jersey, a Fairleigh Dickinson University Public Mind poll found in April 2009 that 63% of New Jerseyians supported legalizing sports betting in Atlantic city and at horse-racing tracks. However, only 48% of New Jersey voters approved of legalizing betting at off-track betting establishments. A slight majority of New Jersey voters (53%) also disapproved of legalizing sports betting nationally. In March of 2010, a national PublicMind poll found that 39% of Americans would support changing laws so that sports betting would be allowed in all states, whereas 53% reported that they would not support such measures. Converse to national opinion, a February 2011 PublicMind found that 53% of New Jersey voters supported legalizing betting in all states while 34% reported they would not support it. Equally, a majority of New Jersey voters (55%) believed that "lots of people bet anyway, so government should allow it and tax it." Proponents of legalized sports betting generally regard it as a hobby for sports fans that increases their interest in particular sporting events, thus benefiting the leagues, teams and players they bet on through higher attendances and television audiences. Opponents fear that, over and above the general ramifications of gambling, it threatens the integrity of amateur and professional sport, the history of which includes numerous attempts by sports gamblers to fix matches. In the 2009 PublicMind poll, the possibility of corrupting sports was the main concern of New Jersey voters (54%) that opposed legalizing sports betting nationally. Similarly, the 2010 PublicMind national poll found that a majority of Americans shared the views of New Jersey voters in the 2009 poll with 54% of respondents reporting that "legal betting on sports is a bad idea because it promotes too much gambling and corrupts sports." On the other hand, proponents counter that legitimate bookmakers will invariably fight corruption just as fiercely as governing bodies and law enforcement do. Most sports bettors are overall losers as the bookmakers odds are fairly efficient. However, there are professional sports bettors that make a good income betting sports, many of which utilize sports information services.
In areas where sports betting is illegal, bettors usually make their sports wagers with illicit bookmakers (known colloquially as "bookies") and on the Internet, where thousands of online bookmakers accept wagers on sporting events around the world. The PublicMind's 2010 national survey found that 67% of Americans did not support the legalization of Internet betting websites in the United States whereas 21% said they would support legalization. The National Football League is fully against any sort of legalization of sports betting The NFL strongly protests it as to not bring corruption into the game. On the other hand, the CEO of the International Cricket Council believe sports betting, in particular in India, should be legalized to curb illegal bookies where match fixing has occurred from nontransparent bookmakers. Many of the illegal proceeds also go to fund terror, drugs and other illegal activities.
There are 142 places in Nevada that will take sports bets on professional and amateur sports. In 1998, close to 2.3 billion dollars was wagered in these places. Out of this 2.3 billion, the casinos that accepted these bets kept 77.4 million dollars as a profit. This is because the odds are stacked in favor of the casinos. (Thompson, 2001)
Famous betting scandals
In 1919, the Chicago White Sox faced the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. This series would go down as one of the biggest sports scandals of all time. As the story goes, professional gambler Joseph Sullivan paid eight members of the White Sox around 10,000 dollars each to fix the World Series. The players involved were Oscar Felsch, Arnold Gandil, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Fred McMullin, Charles Risberg, George Weaver, and Claude Williams. All of these players have been banned for life. (Finley, 2008)
Rule #21--It's nailed to every clubhouse door and every ballpark in the country: "Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever on any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible." This rule is why Pete Rose was given a lifetime ban from baseball after being caught for betting on baseball. (Rose, 2004)
- Betting pool
- Friendly political wager
- Point shaving
- Gambling in Japan
- Financial betting
- Statistical Soccer (Football) Predictions
- Sports betting systems
- Arbitrage betting
- Daily Fantasy Sports
- Davies, Richard (2001). Betting the Line Columbus, Ohio: The Ohio State University Press ISBN 0-8142-0880-0
- Finley, Peter (2008). Sports Scandals Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press ISBN 978-0-313-34458-9
- Boyd, Kier (1981). Gambling Technology Washington, DC: FBI Laboratory
- Rose, Pete (2004). My Prison Without Bars St. Martin's Press ISBN 1-57954-927-6
- Thompson, William (2001). Gambling in America--An Encyclopedia of History, Issues, and Society Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO IBSN 1-57607-159-6
- ^ In-play betting offered at Bodog
- ^ Text of the law (18 USC CHAPTER 50)
- ^ Fifth Circuit ruling - PDF file
- ^ Associated Press: Fantasy Sports League May Run Afoul of NCAA
- ^ PressofAtlanticCity.com
- ^ http://publicmind.fdu.edu/sportsbetting/
- ^ http://publicmind.fdu.edu/casino/final.pdf
- ^ a b c Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll "US Public: Keep Las Vegas in Las Vegas" press release (March 2010)
- ^ a b Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll "Sports Betting, Sure Thing; Internet Betting, Nyet!" press release (February 2011)
- ^ http://publicmind.fdu.edu/casino/final.pdf
- ^ Shriver, Roger. "NFL and ICC's Stance on Betting". http://www.onlinebetting.com/india.
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