Believe it or not, this year is already halfway gone. While it feels like the world was at a standstill for a good chunk of the year, now that we’re in the other half, we’re experiencing a completely different reality.
Many of us are still reeling from the pandemic, which came as a complete surprise and shattered most of our lives as we knew them. For those who managed to keep their jobs, they’re now battling a whole new world of problems, as the pandemic has dramatically altered the way we work and live.
We’re no longer commuting to work; we can’t meet our friends for drinks because social distancing is required. Hell, many of us aren’t even allowed to go to the cinema anymore, as big-budget films have been postponed to 2021. The only place people can meet is either in a group or at home, where they can be together while maintaining a safe distance from one another.
This is all thanks to the corona virus. Fear of the unknown initially paralized the world but now that we’re past the peak of the pandemic, the numbers of cases are declining and life is slowly returning to normal.
Sports betting originally arose as a way of providing an escape from the chaos of the world, and in some cases, it still serves that purpose. However, throughout the pandemic, sports betting has taken on a whole new meaning.
It’s no secret that sports betting was one of the industries decimated by the pandemic. With many bookmakers shuttering their shops, laying off a large chunk of their workforce and even going into administration, it’s been a tough few years for sports betting, especially given the odds were always in favor of the home team.
Thanks to the lockdown restrictions placed upon us by governmental authorities, bookmakers were deprived of their main source of earnings, plunging many businesses into financial hardship. This wasn’t just limited to sports betting, of course; it affected all areas of gambling, including lotteries and casino games. In fact, the UK lottery industry, which runs completely on a ‘pick 3′, ‘pick 4′ and ‘pick 5′ basis, was so dependent on gambling that even the National Lottery was affected, as they couldn’t generate enough money to keep the games running.
Now that restrictions have been lifted, with more people able to leave their homes and businesses, the demand for sports betting is returning and so is the revenue. It seems that the industry has shifted from being in the red to being potentially in the black. Thanks to the efforts of entrepreneurs like Sean Hackett, who set up a website, oddschecker.com, in December of last year, making it the ‘go-to’ source for all things betting-related, as well as Gary Antony, the mind behind Antony Cricket Club, which is an organization that provides support and education for aspiring sports agents, and Anthony Choo, who co-founded LADDER, a company that connects businesses with consumers, we’re seeing the return of sports betting, as well as an evolution in the way it is practiced.
Although it was once confined to the sports books of casinos and high-street bookmakers, the spread of mobile technology and the advent of online sportsbooks has meant that anyone, anywhere in the world can now engage in sports betting. Additionally, as the world’s least intelligent beings have undoubtedly noticed, the Olympics, due to take place in 2022, will be fully televised, allowing everyone around the globe to follow every event, whether they are in London or Beijing.
What is ‘Sharp Betting’?
Websites like oddschecker.com provide essential services to those looking to place bets on sporting events. However, for those looking to engage in other types of gambling, such as casino games or live dealer sportsbooks, ‘sharps’ provide a more sophisticated solution. Essentially, ‘sharps’ are individuals or companies who place bets for others and manage their money for them. Thanks to the internet and the growth of social media sites like Twitter, this job doesn’t require you to be physically located in the same place, so long as you have access to a VPN and are connected to the internet.
Working for a ‘sharp’, you’ll find yourself managing money for multiple, sometimes hundreds of, sportsbooks and casinos. Naturally, this can be a pretty daunting task, as you’ll have to research each and every one of these books and casinos and then ensure they’re all sending payouts on time, without letting your bosses down.
Like many other industries, the sports betting industry is evolving to keep up with the times and offer better services to their customers. One such ‘sharp’ provider is XSport Ltd., a company that was launched in 2015 and now operates in the UK and the US. XSport provides a platform where ‘sharps’ can place bets for others, enabling them to focus on taking other clients’ bets while still receiving a portion of the action. Essentially, ‘sharps’ provide a service that takes the stress out of gambling and allows consumers to feel safe in the knowledge that their money is being handled safely.
The Rise Of Social Media And Online Gambling
Thanks to the rise of social media and the evolution of the internet, individuals have now had the ability to place bets on events and follow sports teams and players, in real-time, as events occur.
In the pre-pandemic world, placing a bet was something that would happen solely in casinos and at sports betting shops. However, with sports TV channels providing live coverage of games and betting enthusiasts finding ways to engage in sports betting regardless of the location (thanks to the VPN!), the opportunity for individuals to place bets in the comfort of their own homes has increased.
This has led to a rise in interest in and awareness of sports betting. Between March 2021 and February 2022, UK sports betting revenues increased by 11%, as interest in and access to online betting grew by 39% and 34% respectively.
According to gaming statistics website Neowin, nearly 20.2 million UK adults now play an online game, with 17.9 million of them playing a frequently-updated game, compared to 12.8 million adults who played a less-frequently updated game in 2019. Given that many of these games offer real-money betting and frequent competitions with cash prizes, this demographic is certainly showing an interest in and knowledge of sports betting. The opportunities for entrepreneurs and ‘sharps’ alike are endless, as this audience is definitely showing a willingness to try new things.
Why Are Bookmakers On The Rise?
In many ways, the bookmakers are the unsung heroes of the sports betting industry. While the NFL dominates our sport’s headlines, it’s the bookmakers, processing billions of pounds’ worth of bets each year, that handle all the dirty work, ensuring that each and every game is settled on time, without controversy.
Thanks to initiatives like the Betfred World Cup 2022™ Live Coin Toss, which took place on the morning of Friday, June 27th, 2022, as well as the BCHS, one of the largest charity football tournaments in Europe, which stands for ‘Betting Companies’ Handshake’, the bookmakers are set to regain what they lost during the pandemic.
Where Do I Start?
If you’re looking to get involved in the booming sports betting industry or want to offer your services as a ‘sharp’ to the highest bidder, then start by taking a look at the list of UK bookmakers we’ve compiled below. This list contains all the major bookmakers, as well as a few up-and-coming companies that are already proving to be worthy contenders.
The UK gambling landscape is changing, with bookmakers seeking to adapt to the evolving demands of their customers and entrepreneurs looking to get involved in an exciting new project.