Who are participants of Sports Betting World, who fund the market and who profits the most?
Why followers who look always for other handicappers picks are the biggest losers of Sports Betting World?
Where are you in this story?
The global online gambling market is anticipated to be valued at more than 94 billion USD in 2024. The current size of the market is almost 46 billion U.S. dollars, which means, that is expected to double in upcoming years. (statista).
Another prediction was made at investors event sponsored by Stanley Morgan. Sports Sports betting market is expected to reach $8 billion by 2025 in USA (predicted by executives from MGM Resorts, Hard Rock and Mohegan Sun). The number is even bigger if we take into account the whole World and if we take into account, that USA might legalise sports betting in next years.
Now imagine that we add to this all the services, that are connected to betting (picks services, sports tipsters,…), but don’t accept bets.
The whole market is bigger and bigger every year. With the marketing, internet and social media this is a huge beast now.
But the question is – who are participants, who really profits and who lost.
Who brings the money to the market? Who built the market?
Which group is the most vulnerable group of all participants and why they have almost zero chance to win?
The market alone doesn’t create anything useful or something that would make the World a better place. The only value is the pleasure on one side and a lot of profit on the other side.
There is someone, who brings the money to the market and those people bring it a lot. This is why market is so big.
Who are the winners and who are the losers of this market?
We are not talking about winners of short periods, but the winners when the show is over. Most bettors will have negative lifetime balance in sports betting. 97% of them lose and this is a fact.
A) THE WINNERS – Those who profit from Soprts Betting World
Bookmakers (and other services that accept bets, like exchanges, bet brokers,…) run the show. They win because of couple of reasons . We understand that the odds represent the probabilities turned into the number.
We also know from our high (or basic) school that P(A1) + P(A2) + … + P(An) = 1 . But when we turn bookmakers odds into probabilities and we put the numbers in equation, you can see that P(A1) + P(A2) + … + P(An) is never 1. The difference represent the margins or the commission that they take every time anyone bet.
Even if we understand the odds, probabilities and how market works and even if we have a bettor, that is very disciplined, patient and has investment mindset (which is the main problem for most bettors anyway), bookmakers still have the edge.
They have time, they have marketing, they have experts and they know they will win. Yes, they will lose to some bettors small amount of money, but overall profit is theirs. They don’t care for tiny 3% that win, because they know the other 97% will lose.
- Bookmakers = Big winners of sports betting World
- How they are funded: from people who bet on sports
2. People who don’t bet, but are involved in betting world
Those are the people who are hired from bookmakers, from services, from the sites and they don’t bet. All kind of developers, marketing experts, mathematicians, data scientists,… They just work for them, but they are paid by the people who bet. The money first go to bookmakers or the services and one part of this is then released to them.
Risk = none
Reward = depends on salaries
People who work in this business, but don’t bet = Winners
How they are funded: indirectly from people who bet on sports
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting bookmakers sites (also betting services, handicappers,..). US affiliate marketing spending increases annually by 10.1% and it’s expected to reach $6.8 billion by 2020 (Source: Digital Global).
Usually when we see sites, that promote bookmakers or their banners, those are the sites, that take commission from bettors. Usually they provide some info about bookmakers, reviews and they even give some exclusive bonuses. They understand the marketing and that most bettors will bet a lot, but in reality most bettors have no discipline, no knowledge or the advantage against the market on the long run. It is only a matter of time, when they start earning.
Commissions are paid either by how much money sports bettors lose (they share profits with bookmakers) or based on turnover. Bigger affiliate marketing sites are also paid by bookmakers for marketing.
Sport betting affiliate marketing is such a huge business and a community, that they even run their own conferences and seminars how to run successful sites, attract players and more. In 2016 there was an article about Paruyr Shahbazyan, who makes millions just by sending players to bookmakers sites.
Risk level = none (Affiliates will always make money. No risk.)
Reward = big to huge
They are winners.
How they are funded: indirectly from people who bet on sports
4. Betting Portals and forums and chat groups
Sports betting communities re bigger and bigger. And those portals build communities os sports bettors. They share information about betting, share picks (paid or free), they even let bettors to bet with imaginary money.
With the internet and user-friendly apps (fb, twitter, instagram, telegram,…) it is even easier to connect all those bettors.
Once you have community, you can either sell your product or take a commission from bookmakers. Most betting portals are funded by bookmakers commission (affiliate marketing). The difference between them and strictly affiliate marketing sits is that they also provide sports betting tips, information and they “talk” about games, bets, etc… Every time we see banners on their sites for example, this is how they make money.
Many portals/forums/chat groups are also funded by selling services (picks,…) with combination of bookmakers or even other betting sites commissions. Even if an average bettor thinks, that they do the job completely for free, there is no such business model. Free business model is always a bad business model.
I personally saw and was part of completely free forum, which had no chance to survive. Time is at the end too valuable to do the work completely for free all the time. Not to mention that money is crucial for improving and growing. No matter if this money is from donations, money is crucial and it is only a matter of time when free portals die. The intention of most betting portals are good and to create environment for pleasure.
And this money comes again – from sports bettors. Bettors that lose, bettors that pay for the service, bettors that are part of communities.
Risk level = none
Reward = good
They are winners.
How they are funded: indirectly from people who bet on sports and click on their affiliate links and banners. Or directly from selling their services (picks,…)
5. Pick Monitoring Sites
Selling picks and other advice services in sports betting becomes bigger and bigger business. With this also so-called monitoring sites were born. They try to monitor picks from picks services and paid handicappers.
They charge handicappers and picks services to monitor their picks. And this money comes indirectly from bettors again. Bettors pay first betting services, then they pay picks monitoring sites.
Some pick monitoring sites sell picks too. One of the problems with those sites is that we are never sure if they are honest. There were couple of complains in the pat that they work together with handicappers. So, if handicapper pays them more, they can rank him higher and manipulate with the results. Not to mention all other manipulation with bookmakers odds, yield, not tracking clv,… Monitoring service is imperfect service because of many reasons….but this is a topic for another time.
Risk level = none
Reward = small to medium
They are winners.
How they are funded: indirectly from people who bet on sports. They pay handicappers first and then they pay monitoring sites later.
6. Sports Handicappers, Touts, Tipsters and Betting Services
Those are the people or sites, that sell so-called betting advice. Most popular are the picks. This business is bigger and bigger and it is huge opportunity for many.
In general we can divide them into two groups.
First group are very good marketers and they sell hype.
They use rule 80/20 where 80% of their work is based on marketing and creating hype. 20% is based on actual betting analysis, researching the market and the knowledge.
They can be big betting portals selling picks or services, social media handicappers or any other handicappers that sell picks.
The problem with this group is that many of them are just a product of survivorship bias and once their results regress to the mean, they turn into the marketers and sell based on hype and marketing. Every time we see anyone creating a hype based on small sample size of bets (“he is 37-14 in last 51 games”, “boom boom winners yesterday”,…) it is probably built on marketing.
If we understand that sports betting market is similar to financial market and that the odds are basically prices that we pay, then we must also understand that there is no such term as a “winner”. The term “winner” is just marketing tool that creates false illusion about betting success.
There is only a “value” or “no value”. The odds are represented in numbers on betting market and this is how we should come to the market – with our numbers. Information turned into the numbers are the odds. And those information move the market price.
Most (probably all) of those handicappers or services have no ability to calculate the most important thing – their own price, which can be compared to bookmakers price.
Sports betting success is always a combination of skill and luck. The problem is that many confuse luck with the skill. And to see skilled bettor that has the edge against market we need to look at his results from different angles. The profit alone or w-l record will not tell anything if you don’t have thousands of betts organised in a table to show.
Better theory is closing line value theory that can tell us much more about the bettor and his future results on smaller sample size.
The problem is that none of them show detailed results, including closing line, yield,…
Some have the knowledge and understand this, but can not show honestly everything, because they lose costumers. This would destroy the complete illusion and make them lose most of their customers.
And some simply don’t have a clue how market works, what are the odds, closing line and we can not blame them. It is a matter of time, when they start losing and this is where marketing comes into a play.
Many of them don’t bet at all and they make most money by selling picks, not from betting on sports. Most of them don’t have lifetime profitable balance. Their bets are funded from their costumers, but by actual building a bankroll.
Risk level = Small to none
Reward = medium to big
They are winners.
How they are funded: directly from people who bet on sports and pay for their service
The second group is a tiny group of betting services,
that are honest, that have the knowledge, that provide projections and calculated probabilities (which are crucial), that talk honestly about all problems of sports betting World and they also show detailed results including closing line value.
They spend much more time for actual betting and researching, than just marketing.
Most of those in second group are unattractive, boring and they don’t create enough illusion and hope for most gamblers out there. Imagine one follower who dreams about living from sports betting, making a lot of money and then this group of people told him ugly truth, that in fact sports betting is much harder than most people think.
Risk level = small
Reward = small to medium
They are winners.
How they are funded: directly from people who bet on sports and pay for their service and some part of their betting winnings (profit from betting on sports)
The whole idea of paying and following picks (free too) is imperfect and is almost not possible to find anyone, with such edge where paying for the service, plus following his picks (and dropping odds) can still be profitable. Anyone who doesn’t understand this will be a disappointed a the very end making summary of his betting career.
Most of these services (no matter if good or bad) are just a waste of time and money, selling something that can be hardly achieved by anyone. Not to blame anyone. The model of selling picks is simply too bad for an average bettor without a deeper understanding of how the whole thing works (probabilities, odds, market efficiency, closing line, projections,…).
7. Sharp bettors (incognito)
Those are bettors that bet for themselves and create extra income with betting in their life. Usually those are very smart people, who probably have strong background in math, statistics,… (after all sports betting has more in common with finance and statistics, than with sports alone).
Bookmakers are the only one who have their information. Not social media, not forums, not people from blog, … but only bookmakers have the information who they are. Period.
The term “sharp” is used too many times in sports betting world from the people who are creating a wrong illusion for foolish people.
Anyone can tell that he is professional, sharp or that he is +EV bettor, but at the very end, bookmakers are the only ones who really see who took their money.
What bookmakers say about them?
Pinnacle’s Head of Trading Marco Blume has made it clear that a reliable indicator of whether a bettor holds long term profitable expected value – that is to say they are sharp – is whether they can beat the closing line.
Sharp bettors are bettors that simply outsmart the market. Bookmakers will pay them their profits. And from all the losses that other brings to the market this is just a tiny amount of money. After all, bookmakers need them too, because they can balance the price and create efficient market.
Most of those bettors are smart enough to understand that sports betting is high risk business and it is irresponsible to rely only on only one income stream and especially relying if this is high risk business like sports betting.
Risk level = medium to big
Reward = small to medium
They are winners, if they work hard and smartly re-invest money to lower risk business as well.
How they are funded: directly from bookmakers
8. Social media handicappers
In last 10 years the social media becomes a huge beast. Not only from sports betting perspective, but in all other businesses. Social media becomes the main tool for marketing and businesses to build their brand.
People spend less and less time with the books, reading articles or any other “hard work” and they find much more pleasure in social media apps that are easily accessible with the phone.
Those flashy things create a lot of pleasure. People create wrong illusion about many things and their brains become addicted to the things they don’t have, but want o have.
To understand this phenomenon we need to understand little bit how our brains work.
Neuroscientists are studying the effects of social media on the brain and finding that positive interactions trigger the same kind of chemical reaction that is caused by gambling and recreational drugs. According to an article by Harvard University researcher Trevor Haynes, when you get a social media notification, your brain sends a chemical messenger called dopamine along a reward pathway, which makes you feel good. Dopamine is associated with food, exercise, love, sex, gambling, drugs … and now, social media (source: Northrop Group).
New York University professor Adam Alter explains what happens to your brain on social media platform.
All of those experiences produce dopamine, which is a chemical that’s associated with pleasure.
One of the problems with social media is that everyone presents the very best versions of their lives. What that means is, every time you look at someone’s life, you’re getting only the very best aspects of their lives, which makes you feel like your life, in comparison with all its probably isn’t as good.
Social media is used now to trigger our brains, which create wrong illusion of everything and our brains say – “We want this”. This is how the things are sold.
So we have created a World of followers who bring money and the rest who live because of them.
The same is with sports bettors and handicappers on social media. None of them have detailed results with all information needed to see if they are really +EV bettors. In fact they are good marketers and they know how this “dopamine game” works. They push that button in our brains talking about “winning picks” and the lifestyle anyone wants to have.
The idea of getting rich quick or getting an information about the next “winner” is pure dopamine. And this is what people want now. Like hot girls, like idea of easy success, like the idea of good living. But not many are willing to work or learn to achieve that.
20 years ago, when I started betting, there were mostly forums and we were reading a lot. We didn’t use phones like now. We need to sit down and read the content.
With phones and social media revolution, nobody sits down and reads anymore. With one finger you can fill your brains with full of pleasure, dopamine and free picks. You can even bet with the phone. And honestly, who is crazy enough to spend hours and hours with numbers and information, when quick pleasure is available anytime and anywhere with just one finger.
And all businesses use social media for selling products. Costumers don’t buy products, that they badly need. The best selling products are those who sell the hope.
The brains respond differently when you expect to lose and when you expect to win. There were couple of gamblers brain researches and how they respond to gamblers pictures.
And many social media handicappers understand this well. If you have million followers and you can create a lot of dopamine and false hope with social media hype and pictures, you can sell millions of picks, despite you don’t have advantage in sports betting market.
Those handicappers (like many above – portals, tipsters,…) use words like “guaranteed”, “winner”, “boom boom” to create perfect environment for dopamine. They even create false hope of passive income, which sports betting is NOT.
The hope and the pleasure is what people buy. This is the phenomenon of modern society, which brings on one side a lot of wealth for some people and a lot of lost money by all kind of followers.
If your only source of information and the most time where you spend your day is mobile phone and social media or groups like telegram, discord, etc… you have very small chance to win by actual betting on sports.
Risk level = small to none
Reward = small to big (depends on marketing skills, not betting skills)
They are winners
How they are funded: directly from bettors – followers
Most of the groups above are not scams. Sports tipsters, handicappers, portals, even most of the social media handicappers are not scams.
Many of them were simply lucky and are the product of survivorship bias. Some of them are still winning, despite they don’t have the edge agains the market but they don’t understand the whole thing and they truly believe that they will continue to win in the future. Not to blame them. For most of them it is only a matter of time, when they start losing.
But there are also scams. People who lie, who sell something that doesn’t exist. Their intention is to take money from people and then run away with fake accounts.
In last 20 years I saw couple of such scams, but with social media those people have couple tools now that makes their job easier:
They can access to large number of people with fake social media accounts
They also know that more and more people are affected by illusion and dopamine and with good marketing you can sell them anything.
There were couple of exposures about those scams, I even saw some journalists who made a deeper research…
So how they work?
Those so-called scams usually come from poor countries, where instinct for survival is much bigger and many of them would do anything to survive and make that extra money. The pattern I saw and many of them contacted me trough social media too, is that they struggle with money.
The problem is much bigger and it is a Worldwide challenge for all of us, but if we focus strictly on sports betting, those people usually offer:
- Fixed games
- Sure games
- Guaranteed games
- and similar (dopamine, pleasure false hope) words
They build a group of followers, mostly on social media and then they say they have fixed game. The game and the 100% winner. They also say that they will send them this winner for free, so they proove that they are not scams.
Then they split this group of followers into 2 (it can be more) groups. And let’s say that we have a baseball game between Boston and Yankees for our explanation.
They will then send BOSTON bet to one group and YANKEES bet to the second group.
One team wins of course, so one group is sure they have “winners” and the second group lose. They block second group.
But they still have the first group of people, who got “the winner”.
Then they tell them that they have another “100% sure winner” but this is not free anymore. They need to pay $100 for example for the next game. Of course those followers who created wrong illusion about them will pay, because they are sure about the next winner.
Scammers simply split this group into 2 groups again and send them different bets. And they can do this until they are out of people. Then they can close account and create new one.
The whole thing is a combination of naiveness of people, social media and false hope, pleasure and dopamine.
Some of them say they have connection with criminals who set those games. But anyone who has just little common sense, knows that criminals would never sell picks (even if they would have them) on social media for $50.
And even if they have connection with them, I believe many people are smart enough not to have any business with any criminals. Crime is a crime. Period.
Risk level = small to none
Reward = small
They are still some kind of winners, because they always find some foolish people and take them some money
How they are funded: directly from bettors – followers
B) LOSERS – Those who bring the money to betting World
Those are people who bring money into the sports betting World. The word “losers” is not here to describe their characteristics or even how those people live. Many of them run successful businesses, they are successful family people, students,… but we want to see who are the people, who bring the money to the market and how this market which is expect to reach more than $90 billion USD in next years funded. Their lifetime balance against betting market is negative. So they have losing lifetime record. This is why losers, not because I want to insult someone.
Who are those people who pay bookmakers, handicappers, tipsters, affiliate marketers, betting portals,…and even scams. Who are those people who are basically f****d by everyone in terms of profit/loss of their betting career.
Profit is not a profit if you die with negative balance. I hope we all agree here. This is why the whole thing about making a hype about last 100 games, last day, last bet,… is crazy. It is pure marketing, wrong illusion, wrong celebrating or even wrong panic. Not many people see bigger picture.
Most bettors are happy that they had one positive season, but they keep betting and their lifetime balance is negative. At the very end they bring more money to the market than the market bring them.
We could divide them in three groups (recreational bettors, gamblers and followers), but because many followers are also gamblers in most cases, I think classification into two groups is completely ok.
1. Recreational bettors
Those are bettors who bet for fun. They are probably the most sympathetic group here.
They control their money, they bet only what they can afford to lose. I saw many recreational bettors in my life and they bet because of fun. They don’t read betting articles, they don’t follow or pay other handicappers for advice. They are not even in sports betting groups, sports betting chat forums, they are more sports fans, who just have fun and don’t make a big deal of it.
They simply bet their games and then brag about their winnings with their friends. They know they will not win on the long run, but the pleasure they get from this is worth the money. After all, people spend money for different things, excitement and pleasure. Why not betting?
They fund the market. At least one piece.
The only difference between them and the group below (followers and gamblers) is that they control their money and they only fund bookmakers. No one else.
2. Followers and gamblers
This is the group of people who basically fund everyone and makes sports betting huge. They are the main reason why betting market will reach more than $90 billion USD in next years. They are the reason why many handicappers, services, marketing experts, profitable bettors, developers and all other that are involved in betting world have salaries.
They are also the reason why winning bettors are paid by bookmakers. If bookmakers would not get the money from them, they would be out of business.
So why they are most vulnerable group and why they bring the most money to the market?
Most of those bettors/followers/gamblers (I will call them followers) are heavily affected by false hope, dopamine, which is created trough social media and they are connecting with other similar followers.
With all this they start creating this hope and looking for information about betting, about picks and human mindset is set so, that we always look for shortcuts and how to minimise the amount of money/time put into something, but at the same time we profit the most.
The handicappers (most of them don’t have results history and the edge anyway) push the button on their brain system with amazing marketing (“Join our winning team – we won yesterday again”. “Joe Sharp is 46-17 in last 63 games and is the hottest handicapper out there. Join now and start winning”, “Guaranteed pick = $75”…)
This is what is promised these days trough social media or on some betting sites and portals. And this article will not change this, because most followers will not read whole article anyway and will not get this message.
On the other side I will probably get a lot of hate from people who’s business is based on marketing…and their survival depends on those followers.
However, if we go back to the topic… those followers bring the most money into the betting World, because:
- They bet without any understanding about the market, about probabilities and with no edge
- They focus always on picks. If you’re actively looking for betting picks and ask yourself all the time what other people bet (no matter if paid or free) – you are a follower, because of many reasons including that you don’t understand how market works, what are the odds and how those prices are changing and why. Anyone who understand this – does not follow anyone. And those who think they are following successfully don’t have big enough sample size or are just product of survivorship bias and it is only a matter of time when they start losing. Period ! (topic for another time). With looking for picks and looking how other people “win” (most of them don’t anyway) you motivate your brains even more to do stupid things. But the knowledge level and the actions of followers are almost never aligned with their dreams. You can not make millions by spending 10 minutes on your mobile phone as a follower per day and following other people’s hard work (no matter which business)
- Their brains are always targeted by huge marketing beast from all sides (bookmakers, handicapping services, affiliate marketing,…)
- They act like most followers who fund rich people (celebrities, businesses,…), that means that they fill their brains with quick hope and pleasure on social media or other groups. Either by looking at someone who is successful or in our case “had winning picks”.
This is then motivation for betting more and more money. Looking for more and more social groups and seeing “other successful bettors” to convince themselves that there is still hope and they can do it. Some handicappers will tell you that the only thing you need to win is to open their email (and of course pay them). So, any average smart guy understand that this makes no sense, but once you are affected by marketing and dopamine even the smartest guys fall.
Many of them become addictive gamblers, which is very dangerous thing. We can see first signs of addictiveness in social groups, when followers obsessively look for the picks, when they start acting very emotionally no matter if they win or lose.
They also never see the big picture, which must be basically “lifetime record”, but quick and short term results, which is typical of dopamine, pleasure and addiction.
Recreational bettors from the group above who bet for themselves and are not affected by social groups, forums and all kind of betting picks are also not affected by false hope and dopamine like this group.
The biggest problem gamblers are so-called followers. Not only that they fund bookmakers, they also fund portals, social media groups, handicappers,…
Followers are the main source for all participants of the sports betting world.
If you become winning bettor and if your lifetime record is positive, you were paid by recreational bettors and followers. I hope we all understand this. You didn’t beat bookmakers. They needed you and you are just part of their equation. After all they also need to show some “winners” so followers get the hope.
Bookmakers are paid by both recreational bettors and followers/gamblers
All other participants are funded by followers only. Followers will build most of the $90 billion market in next few years.
I know many handicappers and betting portals, even betting chat groups will hate me because of this article. But if you are one of them, you don’t need to worry, most followers who are affected by quick pleasure and are looking for quick winners (betting picks) either on social media, either they pay betting services, they will not read whole article anyway.
It is the general problem of today’s society. The companies and good marketers will tell you that you need Rolex watch and with social media they easily create this hype and they know how to target your brains. Your brains respond – I need this, I want this. The biggest money is made on things we really don’t need in our life.
Pretty same process is in sports betting World.
Here is the funny thing and how we can see followers. I run email list with some free betting course and I see what kind of emails people open the most. When I send – FREE PICK, the ratio of opened emails is much larger than when I send the article about betting.
To learn something or read something requires time and energy. It is not pleasure. While reading about the hope or getting quick picture about success (like betting picks) is easy and fun.
The average follower will always look for picks and most of them don’t see any passion in math, statistics, investing combined with sports. Most of them like the dream about better life and quick money. They don’t love betting. And this is exactly one of the biggest problems of modern society.
Whole betting communities were build on picks and followers who look only for picks.
But who can judge them or who can blame them for that? At the very end the foolish average Joes get what the foolish average Joes deserve.
Most followers are looking for picks anyway. Looking for someone who will give them winners. They want everything for free or to pay pocket money but expect professional work from others and at the same time they don’t do anything or bring any value for themselves.
If they bet or even if they follow someone, they jump from services to services, from social media groups to other social media groups,… but at the end the result is the same:
They fund the whole betting World.
Both followers and recreational bettors fund this huge betting World. The difference is that recreational bettors fund only bookmakers, they usually control their money and their brains are not affected by social media, betting chat groups, following picks and addictive gambling.
Followers on the other side fund bookmakers, because they almost for sure don’t have the edge against the market. Most of them can not identify what makes you a sharp bettor in the first place (finding a value and beating closing line). They can not stop betting because they are affected by dopamine and hope, which is served on social media and the internet. The marketing beast is so big that they can not even fight against it. And we should not judge them.
I got a message that I need to focus more on winners, not on beating the line. This message is heavily affected by social media and marketing and despite I send huge email with reference articles and explanation, I never got the answer. The answer I got – it is just my opinion.
Followers create a lot of opinions and don’t back them with any facts or deeper understanding. And those opinions are based on information that you absorb during the day. No matter if this is betting, business, sexy girls, cars, clothes,… This is how things are sold easily.
If you spend your whole day on the instagram, where thousands of accounts target you with yesterdays “winners” of course your brain will respond differently comparing to my boring “projections and probabilities”.
We can not blame them. It is a huge problem of our society.
We are all followers somewhere. Expensive cars, sexy girls, villas, travelling,… and all those things are affected by social media and the hype.
The only difference is that when you buy an expensive car, that you don’t really need, you at least drive that car. When you are a follower in a Complex Sports Betting World full of probabilities, numbers, prices and experts, which looks more like a math world, than sport world alone, you will lose. Period.