The image of betting shops is fixed and archetypal. It is ingrained in British culture almost as race memory. The shop down the high street with the b
The image of betting shops is fixed and archetypal. It is ingrained in British culture almost as race memory. The shop down the high street with the blinds on the windows, and within: the heavy televisions mounted in rows on the low ceiling, the dim lights, the coin slots in the corner and the radio blaring racing results. The imagery evoked here is the steeped nostalgia of collective dream as much as it is based on memory or reality, but it’s fair to say that the popular image of betting shops hasn’t shifted much in the minds of the public for at least fifty years.
Keeping up with the game
Which is not to say that the technology deployed in said establishments hasn’t altered with the times. Those valve-state wooden-boxed televisions were eventually supplanted by sleek plasma screens and hanging LED panels, and that radio changed to DAB.
The range of sports covered grew to accommodate imports from the continent and across the Atlantic. Punters began to follow the activities of faraway ice hockey teams as assiduously as they followed home-grown football. Terrestrial channels gave way to satellite and cable which could supply a greater variety of sports coverage – more games, and more types of game. Today the real growth area of the sportsbook industry is to be found on the internet.
Enter the internet
The kind of experience you might find upon visiting a contemporary sportsbook site is one that is firmly positioned for the digital future. The sportsbook industry is moving online, and is placing its bet that online is where the next generation of customers is to be found.
The advent of reliable streaming – brought about by the recent expansion in Wi-Fi coverage coupled with the introduction of 3G and now 4G – has revolutionised the sector, which is taking full advantage of the wide informational spread that the internet has to offer. Nowadays, a bet is as likely to be placed online as it is to be placed over a counter, and conducted via a website or through a tailored phone app. Instead of notes and coins changing hands, there are internet banking transactions through services such as PayPal. And now sportsbook sites are catering for digital currencies as well.
Increasingly, sportsbooks are offering Bitcoin as one of the primary payment options; you may even find that some operators, such as Sportsbet.io, deal exclusively in the currency. This makes for wider customer choice, and enables such sites to cater to a richer field of sporting interests, and bookmaking opportunities on a global level.
Digital currencies are gaining ground at an astonishing rate as business confidence grows in their viability and the versatility of the distributed blockchain technology that drives them as an operating principle. Bitcoin and similar virtual currencies make the transfer of money on an international scale fast, efficient, and secure.
2016 saw $1 billion invested in blockchain technology, and according to a recent survey by The World Economic Forum, around 10% of global GDP could be stored and transacted using virtual currencies within a decade. On that projection, Bitcoin sportsbooks look to be big business, and could soon outstrip more traditional methods of placing bets.
Widening the field
It’s a fast-moving world, and it makes sense for this industry to keep pace with emerging trends of technology, for technology shapes the customer experience just as much as the needs of the customer shapes technology.
Today’s streaming technology means that a customer can pursue a bespoke realtime sportsbook on sports that range from horse racing to baseball and everything in between, accessible on a home PC or roaming with a smartphone or tablet. That kind of flexibility is always appreciated, and it is key to why this approach is proving so successful moving forward.