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What Are Some Current Trends in Sports Betting?

Sports betting is a form of gambling that has exploded in popularity in recent years as more and more states across the USA have legalized sports betting – both in its traditional and online forms. This came about after the supreme court struck down a federal ban on all forms of sports betting in May 2018, opting instead to leave it up to legislators of each individual state to decide whether or not to make it legal there. At this point, there are still a few states that have yet to legalize sports betting, but aside from a dozen or so states, particularly in the so-called “Bible Belt”, sports betting is fully legal, at least on one level or another.

Sports betting has obviously been both legal and very popular in Asian, European and some African countries, but now that it is so widely available in the States, it has become a more profitable, more popular leisure activity than ever. 

Though 2024 doesn’t promise anything so momentous for the state of sports betting in the United States in the way that 2018 completely revolutionized the game and the next couple of years saw the actual implementation of legalized betting in individual states, but with the industry up and running in full force, this will no doubt be another banner year for this multi-billion-dollar-earning pastime. 

So, if you feel like making some money on your favorite team or player winning, and you keep to the sort of safe gambling practices that won’t turn those wins into crushing, debilitating losses for you, here are some major trends to look out for in the world of sports betting in 2024.


An Olympic Year

This being a leap year, we don’t just get an extra day in February, we also get a new Summer Olympic Games to look forward to in the summer – the second since sports betting was decriminalized on a federal level and the first since many states legalized it. The Olympics obviously offer the widest variety of sporting competitions of any sporting event on Earth and you can bet on any of them. 

Sports betting is, admittedly, very much about knowing the ins and outs of a sport and the players who partake in that sports, so the rather more unpredictable Olympic Games are a tad more of a challenge on that front, but the breadth and the popularity of the games, with some of the most obscure sports sitting side by side with the most famous, gives you plenty of opportunity to take your sports betting to whole other levels. Sharpshooting, judo or fencing are not the sort of sports you normally get a chance to bet on, but you can bet on these as easily as you can bet on football, swimming, or hockey in this four-yearly super sports event.

man shooting the ball on the free throw line

Basketball Rules

Baseball may be America’s “national pastime” and American football may well boast the year’s biggest national sporting event in the Superbowl, but the most popular sports to bet on is actually basketball. Over these past few years, more than half of all sporting bets were made on basketball. This looks set to continue this year.

Though obviously you may bet on any sport that catches your fancy, the fact that basketball betting is so popular should tell you a lot about both how big the money is in the NBA and related professional basketball leagues, and how well the game is suited to placing smart and hopefully winning bets.


Keep It Online

Unsurprisingly, most sports betting is done online rather than at in-person bookmakers. And by “most”, we mean almost all. This is hardly surprising. It’s much safer, much more convenient and much more cost-effective than even the best real-world sports bookmakers. This has been true since sports betting was legalized in the first states, and it’s as true as ever now. 

Important to keep in mind, though, that just because placing bets online is undoubtedly the way to go, you still need to be cautious. For a start, betting more money than you have will get you in every bit as much trouble online as it would in real life. Also, though online sites are overall far more secure and safer than the real-world bookies, be sure to only use reputable online betting and casino sites. Fraudulent bookies can actually rip you off for a whole lot more money than your average shady bookkeeper would in real life.

NFL players

AI and Virtual Reality

As is always the case, each new year brings more and more technological innovations, and the world of sports betting is certainly not immune to this. It’s hard to say this early in the year whether advancements in artificial intelligence, online payments and virtual reality (three areas that might especially impact sports betting) will be more significant than last year, but as AI gets smarter and virtual reality becomes increasingly accessible, financially, it will continue to make increasingly profound changes on what is admittedly still quite a young industry in the States. 

Whether those will be good remains to be seen, but the most notable of these technological advancements has got to be AI. By far, in fact. Its uses can be both very negative or very positive, though. On the positive side, AI can be a brilliant predictive tool (that’s what its best use is across all industries, to be sure) that will give you (but also everyone else) an edge on being able to smartly and strategically bet on any sports event you like. On the negative side, the more it can simulate a human being, the more it’s a risk for trustworthiness and general security, which is why it is more important than ever to only use reputable betting and gambling sites.


In Conclusion

As you can see, in terms of trends, 2024 looks to be pretty similar to 2023. But of course, it’s always impossible to predict the future, even for an AI, and any number of things might happen at some point this year that will change how we look at sports betting. This might be technologically, legally or in the popularity of different sports. The biggest thing that we can predict, though, is that with this being the first year that most Americans will be able to bet on the Olympics legally, this summer will offer up unique opportunities for casual and serious bettors alike.

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