Sports Betting Trends Heading the US Market in 2021 & Beyond

The growing affinity of people towards betting, constant upgrades, and technological innovations give rise to new sports betting trends. In this article, we gathered the notable trends that will empower the market, optimize your whole betting package, and help you achieve great heights shortly.
12 min read
08/19/21
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By Russell Karp
Vice President, Media & Entertainment
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Sports Betting Trends Heading the US Market in 2021 & Beyond

Leading-edge technologies are reimagining how sportsbooks operate and strategize today given a push to new sports betting trends. Clearly, the sports betting industry is booming, and technologies have the biggest impact on it. On a global scale, a report by Technavio forecasts worldwide market growth of $134.06 billion between 2020-2024, indicating a CAGR of nearly 10% over the four-year period. In this article, I’ll give you a peek into the top betting trends for 2021 and beyond as we embrace the next wave of meteoric industry growth.

#1 Mobile Betting

One of the most prevalent sportsbook betting trends is the addition of mobile betting options. With a full range of gambling opportunities right in a consumer’s pocket, the increased convenience of mobile sports betting is extraordinary. Both well-established and lesser known sportsbooks are quickly jumping into the world of mobile gambling, offering the potential for additional revenue due to the ease of betting at any time of the day. For instance, DraftKings engage their fans with a rewarding mobile experience allowing them to wager on in-game bets, cross-sport parlays, money lines, round robin bets, and more.

Example of a movile app for betting

[Source: App store]

#2 Micro Betting

Micro betting —also known as in-play betting — brings the excitement of a game to a whole other level. Instead of simply betting on the winning team, in-play gambling allows fans to put their money down on all sorts of details in an event. With constantly changing odds and new gambling opportunities emerging throughout a game, bettors are much more engaged than was previously possible. Micro betting has grown into one of the biggest sport betting trends with major players such as FanDuel, through its deal with sports betting technology company Simplebet. Simplebet uses machine learning and automation to generate betting opportunities in just seconds throughout a sporting contest.

Picture of mibile phone for microbetting

[Source: Simplebet]

However, micro betting requires innovative and advanced technology. Real-time and historical data must be delivered rapidly to change odds at the speed necessary to make micro betting work. Similarly, sporting events must be streamed in real-time with virtually no delay to allow gamblers to put their money down on plays throughout a game. While the technological requirements are complex, micro betting is certain to dramatically increase revenue.

#3 Last Minute Betting

Last minute betting is an offshoot of in-play betting. Some gamblers believe that the final moments of a sporting event are the best time to strike. Near the end of a game, sportsbooks may rapidly change their odds, leading some people to make significant profits by holding out on placing a bet until the last minutes of a match. Betway is known for offering the highest odds for last minute bets, thereby enticing gamblers who are interested in trying the newest live betting trends to see if they can score big in the final moments of a game.

#4 Prop Betting

While this type of gambling is already popular overseas, prop betting is quickly gaining momentum in the United States. Prop betting is greatly beneficial to sportsbooks, as this type of gambling often attracts people who do not know much about the game, leading to higher value for sportsbooks due to poorly placed bets. And for gamblers, prop betting provides a lot of extra opportunities to make money from their predictions, which also adds another level of excitement to the game.

In our recent webinar with sports betting industry leaders, Omer Dor, CEO of Sports IQ, explained why his company is deeply involved in prop betting: “When we think about the products that we build, it’s not about what betting products we can build, it’s more starting from a question of what are sports fans in the United States today engaging in? What are they talking about? And then, how can we have the building blocks from a technology standpoint and modeling standpoint to facilitate betting products that would make them engaged and interested in the sports that they’re already consuming? And so, one of the things that we’re most known for as a result of that is being a leader in providing player props which is the ability to bet on the performance of individual athletes.”

Betway and 888sport are often considered leaders in the world of prop betting, while a growing number of US-based sportsbooks are starting to join this trend. Although the majority of prop bets are related to individual players or events, some sportsbooks are finding a niche with more unusual offerings. The most popular examples of “exotic prop bets” occur during the Super Bowl, such as gambling on the length of the national anthem or on the result of the coin toss. It is likely that these strange sorts of opportunities will gain traction in the coming period to become one of the betting trends that everyone is talking about.

#5 Player Tracking

Fans and gamblers who want to delve deeply into the game can take advantage of player tracking technology, providing vital information such as the real-time activity of a player and details about their fitness level. One example of a company working in this area is Zebra Motionworks with its player tracking system based on patented RFID technology and partnership with the NFL. For gamblers, the insights into players provide them with additional information to increase the power of their betting choices, while coaches can use Zebra’s technology to improve athlete training and to adapt to player energy and performance throughout a game to increase the effectiveness of their strategic approach.

Example of player tracking

[Source: Zebra Motionworks]

#6 Esports Betting

Betting on esports is unmistakably one of the top sports betting industry trends of 2021. Over the last decade, the popularity of competitive video games has skyrocketed throughout the world. League of Legends, Dota 2, and FIFA are a few examples of games that attract those interested in esports betting. While much of the world was shut down in the height of the pandemic, many bettors moved over to esports and discovered a new area for their gambling focus.

These days, esports are popular around the world with no sign of its growth slowing down. According to a report by Market Insights, the global esports betting market was valued at $12.6 billion in 2020 and is projected to skyrocket to $20.7 billion by 2027. Among the sportsbooks offering esports betting opportunities are Betway, Luckbox, LeoVegas, and more.

Example of an app for esports betting

[Source: Luckbox]

#7 Live Streams

To drive gambling revenue, some innovative companies are integrating sports betting into OTT streaming in real-time. Sportradar recently announced the launch of emBET with the aim of increasing fan engagement by providing up-to-date betting information while making it possible to place bets within the live stream being viewed. The tech product was created in partnership with LiveLike, known for its ability to transform passive audiences into engaged viewers. For gamblers, emBET provides the advantage of removing the need for a second screen in order to place bets during a game. And for sportsbooks, increased fan engagement results in more bets, leading to growth in customer loyalty and revenue.

Example of a live stream in sports betting

[Source: Sportradar]

#8 Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Although the use of AI and ML for automating betting odds is still in the early stages of development, I expect dramatic innovations to come into place very soon. Vast quantities of sports data are readily available, making AI an ideal technology for analyzing the wealth of information to create remarkably accurate predictions for sporting events. There can be developed systems that will learn from experience to continually improve algorithms and effectively automate the complex task of setting gambling odds.

Can AI help you beat the odds? Unfortunately, probably not, at least not on a consistent basis. But that has not stopped some companies from trying. One example comes from Sportspicker A.I., a sports forecasting system aimed at generating winning picks by using AI technology.

Example of a live stream in sports betting

[Source: Sportspicker A.I.]

While the innovative company writes compelling marketing pieces, their system alone is not going to be enough for you to break the sportsbooks, although their concept certainly provides food for thought.

#9 Extended Reality

Technologies, such as VR and AR, are ideal tools for bridging the gap between sports betting enthusiasts and live games, made even more crucial by the necessity for citizen lockdowns and adherence to social distancing protocols. An excellent example of the efforts to harness these technologies can be seen in the partnership launched last July between the NBA, Yahoo Sports, and RYOT, a live virtual reality production company. Through this collaboration, Yahoo Sports can engage fans through the creation of specialized sports betting content, while RYOT produces live NBA events in VR by delivering physical games to the homes of fans via Oculus devices.

When it comes to a direct relationship between AR and sports betting, exciting concepts in development include the capability to point a device at a specific player or team on a screen to instantly see a wide range of data and stats before placing a bet. Sportsbet.io is one of the innovators in the realm of VR/AR with its recently launched mathday program, which aims to bring players into the living rooms of fans by utilizing the latest AR technology.

#10 Big Data and Analytics

In the world of sports, data is king. And it is no different when it comes to sports betting. Data is at the center of the mechanics of gambling for both sportsbooks and bettors. The more sophisticated an analytics strategy is, the better a sportsbook can generate its odds and increase its revenue. An example of the importance of big data in sports betting comes from the partnership between Sportradar and the NHL, in which the Swiss-based company gains the exclusive global distribution contract for the NHL’s data. Sportradar provides real-time game statistics — time on ice, face-offs won/lost, shots on goal, and more — via their league’s proprietary Hockey Information Tracking System (HITS).

a large TV-screen

[Source: Sportradar]

#11 Face Recognition

The potential benefits derived from using face recognition technology for user verification are vast for both gambling operators and bettors. At each step of the process, automated verification can increase the speed and ease-of-use of sports betting platforms. For the creation of a user account, face recognition technology is an outstanding tool, allowing bettors to upload a photo of their ID while taking a selfie in the gambling app to confirm their identity and additional personal information. In the event that a gambler claims their account has been compromised, operators can use permissioned access to the user’s forward-facing camera to compare the times of their bets with the face of the person who made them, thereby allowing for either the confirmation of suspicious behavior or to prove that the user’s account was in fact not compromised by an outside party. At this point, it is still in early development, but I believe we are on the cusp of significant innovations and exciting applications of face recognition technology in the online gambling arena.

#12 Crypto-Based Betting

One of the advantages of crypto-based betting is the lack of involvement of a third-party, unlike traditional banking options, while another related advantage is lower fees on payouts. Crypto-driven betting also provides greater transparency with provably fair games, easier, faster, and cheaper remittances, as well as operational efficiency for operators. The Canadian Elite Basketball League is the first professional North American sports league to offer its players a portion of their salaries in Bitcoin through a partnership with Bitbuy. When it comes to betting, many sportsbooks are now bitcoin-equipped, including BetOnline, SportsBetting.ag, and others.

#13 Cashless Transactions

As the popularity of sports betting apps expands, I expect cashless transactions to become commonplace throughout the country. Resorts World Las Vegas is one of casinos receiving a great deal of attention for its use of cashless transactions. Utilizing RFID technology, players can bet with house chips that contain sensors, while the tables accept cashless transactions. Every bet is tracked through the technology, which benefits everyone by removing the possibility of error from the equation. The increased efficiency is incredible, as gamblers with wireless wallets can scan their phones with a dealer instead of visiting traditional casino cages.

#14 Big Events Coming Back

As the world slowly comes back from the pandemic lockdowns, there is a newfound excitement in sports events. With the US Open tennis tournament around the corner, plus the US Grand Prix and the World Series to follow, it is time to place our bets on our favorite teams, players, and every detail in between.

Supercharging the Sports Betting Industry

Sports betting technology continues to break new ground as innovative industry players apply existing and emerging technologies to create a more exhilarating experience for fans and a more profitable market for sportsbooks.

Want to discuss your technological goals in the ever-expanding world of sports betting? Drop us a line, and we will apply our expertise to make your product the big winner.

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