(Photo: Getty Images)
When cricket became a mainstream sport and popular well beyond the shores of Great Britain, the sports betting community grew with the game. It is likely that betting took place at cricket games as far back as the 1500s and 1600s, just without the betting lines and odds. Betting and sports go together.
In 2015, a United Nations study reported that cricket accounted for 12% of the $3 trillion annual global sports betting market. Considering the long history of the game and its deep value in societies well beyond the UK and Australia, some are surprised that cricket isn’t a bigger betting market.
Recently, someone actually had an answer to that question. Bede Gaming Chairman Joe Saumarez Smith discussed the topic at the 2017 Betting on Sports Conference, and he was on a panel discussing sports betting and cricket. “I’m very much of the view that cricket is a fantastic betting game,” Smith said, but did talk about its failure to capture more of the betting market because it’s “extremely difficult to price.”
Bookies Managing Director Matthew Glazier concurred, “It’s not synonymous with betting, cricket as a sport, particularly in the test match format, doesn’t lend itself out to betting.”
However, Living Sports Managing Director had a different take. “Cricket is a sport that innovates all the time,” he said. “There is still a great deal of opportunity for bookmakers to come and talk directly to the consumer in the stands.”
A recent Infiniti Research report mentioned that opportunity for cricket betting growth with the FIFA World Cup 2018 set for Russia next year, when cricket tournament betting is expected to soar.
Of course, online betting has increased the scope of all sports betting in the past decade, cricket included. Sports betting apps are being created at what seems like the speed of light, and cricket is a top reason that young adults download said apps and place bets. The global competitions entice bettors, and the plethora of bets available for cricket fans continues to grow. Betting scores common, but younger bettors are placing side bets for additional excitement, such as the number of runs at the fall of the first wicket, or most run outs, or best player performances.
As cricket is available to more viewers via satellite broadcasts of the games in more regions of the world, online betting will grow for the game, too. And though betting apps are more accessible, experts warn that new bettors should patronize brands that have reputations and are licensed in the proper jurisdictions. The bet365 app is a perfect example of a site that has worked hard to gain the trust of its customers while also offering some of the most varied cricket bets on the internet.
Cricket’s long history with sports fans will extend far into the future, by all accounts. And sports betting operators will find ways to offer more cricket bets and make the betting world more appealing to the game’s fans. It is how both industries have grown in the past few decades and will thrive in the same means going forward, just with a little more technology and ingenuity at their fingertips.