The online casino industry has grown rapidly over the course of the last ten years. While at the end of the 20th century there were only several dozen online casinos available to gamblers, over the last ten years their numbers have grown exponentially and today gamblers have a choice of over a thousand online casinos.
Land-based casinos, especially in the US, have always promoted themselves as fun-filled places where men, and later on also women, can gamble and have a good time and if they gamble enough their hotel rooms will be comped by the casino to encourage high rollers to come and wager at their establishment.
In Las Vegas, Nevada the casinos have realized, soon after their establishment that if they want to attract the men to gamble they need to provide entertainment to women. Free drinks were offered to the ladies waiting for their husbands or lovers who were at the tables playing.
When slot machines were introduced the game mainly drew bored women who had nothing better to do in the casino. The casino owners have quickly identified an additional source of income and started heavily promoting the game to women.
During the late 20th century Las Vegas got revamped from a mobsters-run town and turned more corporate. Huge casinos were built and offered non-gambling related entertainment to attract vacationing families and also started hosting large conventions which turned Las Vegas to the convention capital of the US.
Tourism flourished, but profits from gambling have slowly started declining and places like Macau have started competing with Las Vegas as the city whose profits most from gambling.
The introduction of online casinos in the late 90’s have served as another blow to places such as Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Monte Carlo. Suddenly people were given the option of gambling from the comfort of their own homes with a click of a button.
However in those years not everybody had a personal computer and those who did had to surf the internet using dial-up connections which were slow and patchy. This proved to be a problem and in retrospect we can see that these two factors caused a delay in the burst of online casinos.
Over the course of a few short years more and more people have gained access to personal computers, as mass production of personal computer have caused prices to decline, this corresponded with vast improvements in internet connections and the increase of internet surfing speed.
At this point it became much easier for the average Joe to own a computer and surf the net at a reasonable speed. Once this was possible online casinos could not be stopped. It became easier and quicker to download and install casino software, and later on with the development of Flash technology many casinos could offer players to play their favorite casino games directly from their web browsers without the need to download any heavy software on to their computers.
The rapid growth in the gaming industry of software providers and gambling brands has created a welcomed competition between the companies and have forced online casino to take a different approach from land-based casinos to marketing and promotion.
Online casinos were not able to offer their patrons free drinks and hotel rooms therefore they had to come up with other means of promotion in order to attract gamblers. This signaled the birth of online casino bonuses and merchandize promotions.
Online casino have started competing with land-based casinos and other online casinos by offering free cash bonuses to new players joining them. They have also developed players’ rewards programs that awarded top players with expensive branded merchandize.
I am the Sports Editor for a sports news and gambling website. I have many years experience of gambling, sports journalism and study of mathematics. Am I a gambling expert? Well, I guess you could say that.
There are innumerable so-called gambling experts willing to dish out information of their systems to ‘beat the bookie’ or to make a second income from gambling, for a price of course. I won’t do that. I will simply give you information about bookmakers, odds and gambling for you to use (or forget) as you see fit.
The first thing to mention is that the vast majority of people who engage in gambling will be net losers over time. This is the very reason there are so many bookmakers making so much money throughout the world.
While bookmakers can sometimes take big hits, for instance if a favourite wins the Grand National, they spread their risk so widely and they set up markets that incorporate a margin, so they will always make a profit over the medium to long term, if not the short term. That is, as long as they got their sums right.
When setting their odds for a particular event, bookmakers must first assess the probability of that event occurring. To do this they us various statistical models based on data collated over years, sometime decades, about the sport and team/competitor in question. Of course, if sport was 100% predictable, it would soon lose its appeal, and while the bookies are often spot on with their assessments of the probability of an event, they are sometimes way off the mark, simply because a match or contest goes against conventional wisdom and statistical likelihood.
Just look at any sport and you will find an occasion when the underdog triumphs against all the odds, literally. Wimbledon beating the then mighty Liverpool in the FA Cup Final of 1988, for instance, or the USA beating the then mighty USSR at ice hockey in the 1980 Olympics are two examples of when you would have got handsome odds on the underdog. And could have won a decent wedge.
The big bookmakers spend a lot of time and money ensuring they have the right odds that ensure they take into account the perceived probability of the event, and then add that extra little bit that gives them the profit margin. So if an event has a probability of, say, 1/3, the odds that reflect that probability would be 2/1. That is, two to one against that event occurring.
However, a bookie who set these odds would, over time, break even (assuming their stats are correct). So instead they would set the odds at, say, 6/4. In this way they have built in the margin that ensures, over time, they will profit from people betting on this selection. It is the same concept as a casino roulette.
So how can you spot the occasions when bookmakers have got it wrong? Well, it’s easier said than done, but far from impossible.
One way is to get very good at mathematical modelling and set up a model that takes into account as many of the variables that affect the outcome of an event as possible. The problem with this tactic is that however complex the model, and however all-encompassing it seems, it can never account for the minutiae of variables relating to individual human states of mind. Whether a golfer manages to hole a major-winning five foot putt on the 18th at St Andrews it is as much down to their concentration as to the weather or day of the week. Also, the maths can start getting pretty darn complicated.
Alternatively you can find yourself a sporting niche. live22 Bookmakers will concentrate their resources on the events that make them the most money, generally found to be football (soccer), American football and horse racing. So trying to beat the bookies while betting on a Manchester United v Chelsea match will be tough. Unless you work for one of the clubs, or are married to one of the players or managers, it is very likely the bookmaker setting the odds will have more information than you.
However, if you are betting on non-league football, or badminton, or crown green bowls, it is possible, through hard work reading lots of stats, and general information gathering, you can start to gain an edge over bookies (if they even set odds for such things, which many do).
And what do you do when you have an edge in information terms? You follow the value.
Value betting is where you back a selection at odds that are greater than the actual probability of an event occurring. So for instance, if you assess the probability of a particular non-league football team (Grimsby Town, say) winning their next football match as 1/3 or 33%, and you find a bookmaker who has set the odds of 3/1, you have a value bet on your hands. The reason being, odds of 3/1 (excluding the margin built in by the bookie) suggest a probability of 1/4 or 25%. The bookie, in your now learned opinion, has underrated Grimsby’s chances, so you have effectively built in an 8% margin for yourself.
Of course Grimsby (as is often the case) might fluff their lines and fail to win the match, and hence you could lose the bet. But if you continue to seek out and bet on value bets, over time you will make a profit. If you do not, over time, you will lose. Simple.
So the question is, do you have the time and inclination to spend hours finding and refining your sporting niches and/or seeking out the value bets? If the answer is yes, good on you, go for it. If the answer is no, do not fear. we give regular free betting tips along with the best odds for various sporting events that will take the hassle out of making your sporting selections and bring you news, match previews and all the best free bet offers to help you get on the best value bets around.