Gambling and sports were always related, even before gambling were called gambling and sports were called sports. Bets were placed on the fights between lions and Christians inside the Roman arenas, bets were placed on jousts and duels, and when all these bloody and aggressive activities were tamed, becoming competitive sports where no limbs were cut off, bets continued to be placed on them. In time, the forms of gambling diversified, with one of its branches shifting toward entertainment – casinos were born this way, offering high society, and later the masses, entertaining games that they could play for money. Betting on sports has remained a preferred activity for many to this day, keeping the connection between sports and gambling alive.
The relationship between casinos and sports is superficial at best, especially when it comes to online gambling venues. Of course, major sporting events – especially boxing matches – are often organized inside major casino resorts in Las Vegas. This is as much a promotion for the location as it is an action to support the sport itself. On the other hand, casino game builders have a habit of reaching out to sports for inspiration. The Vegas Palms casino online, for example, has several highly successful games inspired by a variety of ball games and other sports. The Sports Star Series, a serial of video games inspired by some of the world’s most followed sports – like soccer, rugby, cricket, and basketball – is routinely among the most-played ones at the Vegas Palms. Besides, it has quite a few games inspired by other sports like ice hockey, Formula 1, even martial arts, very popular among Vegas Palms players. The Vegas Palms and its likes don’t influence the world of sports in any way but merely rely on it for inspiration.
Betting, in turn, is a completely different matter. The world’s biggest sports betting companies, like William Hill, Ladbrokes, Gala Coral, and their likes, make billions of dollars a year by offering their members betting opportunities on a vast variety of sports. These, in turn, often give back a part of the revenue they generate. According to a recent statistic, members of the EGBA (the European Gaming and Betting Association) have, since the organization’s inception, paid out over $8.5 billion as sponsorship and licensing fees to a variety of sports associations, clubs, and teams. The ads of gambling groups routinely appear on sports teams’ and athletes’ shirts, and on the banners and screens surrounding playfields.
There is a dark side of this relationship between gambling and sports, though – match fixing. This practice is highly condemned and punished in the world of regulated gambling, yet there is another betting industry that’s not only not regulated but completely invisible to the authorities and regulators. The illegal betting business is massive, estimated to have a value up to 10 times as big as the regulated one. And, since there’s no regulation or control in place to hold it at bay, it often ends up influencing the outcome of matches, fights, and games, with the clear goal of making a lot of (untaxable) money. This practice is not only illegal but deeply immoral, too, robbing the world of sports of one of its basic principles: fair play.