The World Cup is the international sports activity that is receiving by far the most attention this month but this month will pass, a champion will be crowned, and life will return to “normal”. However, betting on sports will continue to rise incrementally or exponentially, depending on the market, in the years ahead.
One area that is receiving a lot of attention in the news is the prominence of mobile technology in furthering sports betting. We will see how mobile technology will increase sports betting in many ways including adding to sports bettors’ bankrolls through bonuses and bonus codes.
Mr. McLuhan was an American behavioral scientist in the last half of the 20th century. He spoke about the importance of the media through which information is passed in addition to the actual information. He coined the phrase, “the medium is the message”.
At the time, few understood the significance of his insight but with the advent of mobile technology and other technologies we can see much more clearly how prescient this dictum was.
Mcluhan studied messaging and communication during the television era. Television was the great entertainment medium of the baby boom generation. Parents used television as a free babysitting service. Kids grew up with television characters as “friends”. McLuhan’s insight was that when the medium through which information is delivered changes, the message and the information change as well.
When television became the babysitter, kids no longer interacted with real life babysitters. They did so far less than they had done so in the past. Before television, grandma was often the baby sitter. After television, kids’ parents no longer needed grandma to live close to them. This began the separation of families that we see still going on. Not only are grandmothers no longer needed but couples get divorced almost as often as they get married and children are much more likely to put their parents in a nursing home instead of taking them into their own home.
This incredible new technology is far more than a telephone we can take with us. We keep a great deal of our private day to day information in our mobile devices. These devices were called cellular phones at first because they simply served as portable telephones.
Their designation has undergone several changes within a single generation. We went from cellular phone to cell phone to cell and then to smartphone. The smartphone was the smartest “person” we knew and continues to be the smartest “person” in the room.
Our smartphones “talk” to us and we refer to them as if they were real people.
Mobile and Sports Betting
Mobile technology is at once highly personal and private and quite open to observation and data mining. The companies that run the technology know more about us than we know about ourselves. They send us ads for products or services if they merely hear us taking about it lazily or off-handedly.
So, the effect of mobile technology is not going to be merely a one to one tradeoff. We won’t make the same number of sports bets as before, simply moving some of them to our mobile devices. We will make far more sports bets than we made before.
Our mobile devices will shower us with sports betting offers. They will make sports betting so convenient that it will take herculean effort to resist the offers. In-game betting will also increase dramatically as we will not need to follow the game moment to moment at home stuck to our television. Instead, we might be out with friend or friends and when there is a free moment go into our sports betting app and place a bet with instant results.
How High Can It Go?
No one knows with any certainty how much sports betting will increase in the next decade or so. Gambling in general is a complex behavior dependent on many things such as upward mobility, family structure, societal acceptance, plus convenience.
Once, it was relatively inconvenient to gamble at casino games legally; you had to go to Las Vegas to do so. The advent of Native American casinos in the United States, private casinos popping up all over the countryside in many countries around the world, and especially online casinos made gambling at casino games far more prevalent and easy to do.
Mobile gambling takes this trend a giant leap forward. As sports betting is the biggest trend in gambling generally we can expect mobile technology to foster a massive boom in sports betting.
Sports lend themselves to modern society in ways that slots or casino table games don’t. The storylines in slots are somewhat contrived. Game providers work diligently producing games that slots fans can “get into” subsuming their real life experiences within the vicarious pleasure they get playing slots. Table games remain the same generation after generation. Blackjack or poker players love their games of choice but the games don’t change in any significant way.
Sports are different. As Spike Lee said, sports cannot be scripted. This means that not only is each season different, but each day is different, and each moment in any game or match is different than the moment before. All this uncertainty lends itself to gambling and the convenience of mobile will contribute to vastly increased gambling on sports in the years to come.
When mobile casinos were first introduced, they were an afterthought. The technology simply wasn’t there to create a massive market for mobile gambling. That has changed dramatically. Mobile is now the number one platform for online casino gambling.
Sports betting on mobile will follow the same trend until a new technology or a new cultural trend develops that can replace it. It is far from certain that such a development will happen any time soon.