Let’s face it—there are currently more different types of gambling with a greater degree of accessibility than at any other point in history. In the United States alone, land based gambling is ubiquitous. Only 6 of the 50 states don’t have a state lottery and only 2 have no form of gambling whatsoever available to their citizens (Utah and Hawaii). Throw in tribal bingo halls and casinos and the massive online gambling presence and its safe to say that no matter where you live in the world you have access to multiple forms of gambling if you know where to look for it.
So why should you focus on sports betting when you already have so many different forms of gambling already available to you? Sports betting is unique among the various types of gambling for several reasons:
SPORTS BETTING IS A STATISTICALLY ‘BEATABLE’ FORM OF GAMBLING: Virtually every other form of gambling from lotteries to slot machines have a fixed and significant ‘house edge’ built that guarantees that the player will lose money in the long run. This edge ranges from a 50% ‘hold percentage’ that lotteries enjoy down to less than 1% for full pay slot machines in Nevada. Sports betting doesn’t have a set ‘hold percentage’. On most ‘straight bets’, there is a small ‘commission’ paid to the sportsbook on losing bets (11 to 10 or $110 to win $100). At 11 to 10 that makes a player’s ‘break even point’ is slightly above 50% (52.38% to be precise). Other types of bets don’t have a ‘commission’ as such but do have a percentage of ‘vig’ built in. It’s a significant challenge for a sports bettor to stay above breakeven in the long term but it is possible.
INTELLECTUALLY DEMANDING, NEVER BORING: To gamble on sports successfully is extremely challenging intellectually. It’s always changing and evolving on both a macro and micro level and it is definitely never boring. This is in my opinion the crux of its appeal. Many (if not most) other forms of gambling are very repetitive and occasionally monotonous. Playing video poker or slots is definitely this way with players spending long hours in front of a machine. Playing poker also involves long hours of sitting and waiting only to throw away most hands you’re dealt. That’s not the case with sports betting—the different approaches you can take to sports betting are endless. You’ll never run out of new strategies to try, new types of bets to make and different sports to handicap. It’s always a challenging and fascinating process no matter your level of experience or skill.
EASE OF PLACING BETS AND WORKING WITHIN YOUR LIFESTYLE: I’ve tried most forms of gambling where I have a realistic chance of beating the ‘house edge’ at various points. Not only did I find most tedious sports betting was a perfect fit with my lifestyle. In fact, no matter what your lifestyle is you can make sports betting work within it. Most other ‘beatable’ forms of gambling just can’t offer this advantage. A professional poker player has to spend hours inside cramped, smoky casinos and card rooms. Best case scenario, they spend untold hours online trying to maintain focus.
You don’t even need to go into a casino to place bets if you don’t want to. Nor do you have to be at home in front of your computer. Virtually every sportsbook offers mobile smartphone wagering that gives you the luxury of betting anywhere you want.
IT’S EXTREMELY ENJOYABLE AND ENHANCES THE EXPERIENCE OF WATCHING SPORTS: Bottom line—it’s a lot of fun. It’s always challenging and interesting. For a sports fan, it can greatly enhance the experience of watching games. For a sports bettor, otherwise meaningless events like regular season NBA games or preseason NFL action becomes a moneymaking opportunity and a chance to learn more about the intricacies of handicapping.