The “mist of mourning”. The “rare joy” amid economic and political turmoil. You’d think these extremes of emotional well-being refer to something truly monumental, a life-changing event. Well, for many sports fans, that’s exactly what it is.
In Brazil, they say that football is a religion. In the United States, more people know who Shaquille O’Neal is compared to Michelangelo and Charles Dickens. Recent studies have pointed out that our actual self-esteem is closely tied to the results of our favourite sports teams.
In short, we care. A lot. Maybe too much. This relationship extends into sports gambling. We want that thrill of victory, that dopamine rush, the feeling that we’re involved. There’s a little more to it than that; let’s explore why sports betting captivates enthusiasts like no other activity.
Most of us dream of being sports stars when we’re little kids. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen for most of us. But we would like to be involved, somehow. That’s partly why we don a football jersey when our team plays on the weekend. Or why we trek hundreds of kilometres to catch an away game. And it’s also why we like putting money on our favourite teams; it’s a way to get some additional emotional skin in the game.
Whether you’re based in South Africa and want to put money on Ajax Cape Town through one of the many local best betting sites, in Los Angeles and still have faith in James Harden, or you think the Jets will finally win the SuperBowl (free tip: they won’t), betting on sports enhances the relationship we have with our teams.
When Argentina won the World Cup, it sent the entire country into a whirlwind of emotion. Our attachment goes deep, and so goes our relationship with betting. It’s all to do with how our brains work.
Simply put, there’s a psychological element to it. When we gamble, our brains release dopamine. This is that feel-good effect that happens via our neurotransmitter, giving us a sense of excitement and happiness.
We love to place bets on sports and it’s all due to the make-up of our brains, the psychological motivating factors that we share with most other bettors. Studies point to increased excitement, buzz, and an overall increased level of intensity and enjoyment.
Casinos and sports betting websites are investing heavily in their live in-game environments. Casinos try to emulate the real-world experience by creating chat channels and introducing live games with a dealer.
They mimic what it’s like to be there with others, exchanging banter with players and the dealer alike. Sports betting has live feeds to the games, with some even rumoured to be introducing lounges where players can interact with one another.
These operators are not doing this for a random reason. No, they are keenly aware that the betting experience is a social one, where we get together as a community, chat with friends, and other bettors, and just enjoy the experience together. We’re social animals, and betting gives us another avenue to spend time with other like-minded individuals.
Most gamblers play for the fun of it. The community, the fun, the chance of hitting it big on an accumulator bet. But for some, it’s strictly business. Many players have turned their passion for sports into a profitable enterprise, using their knowledge to place educated bets on a wide range of sports.
Just think about it this way: when we study, we get better, right? Well, most sports fans spend their hours arguing on forums or Discord servers, read data-driven opinion pieces on The Athletic, and watch countless hours of games. If they gave out degrees in sports expertise, many of us would have a PhD by now.
Of course, it’s not easy to make money betting on sports. It not only requires a deep knowledge of a given league or sport, but you also need a decent bankroll, nerves of steel, and the ability to take emotion out of the equation.
The future of sports betting can best be captured by the following adjectives: bigger and better. The industry as a whole is going through quick expansion, with more punters joining the scene, and a large percentage of existing players moving away from land-based establishments.
For players, this means more options, improved gameplay, wider availability of streams, many more betting lines, and a lot of providers to choose from. Whether you’re putting money on your favourite team, playing an accumulator with your friends, or taking a numbers-based approach to win some money, there will be plenty out there for the consumer.