From animal bones ground into dice to telegraph wires to the Internet to smartphones, “gambling has always changed to keep up with technology,” said David Schwartz, director of the UNLV Center for Gaming Research. More than ever, what people want to do is gamble, especially on sports. Estimates of illegal sports betting in the United States reach $380 billion, dwarfing the $3.9 billion bet in Nevada, the only state where sports betting is fully legal. But legal sport betting is on the rise, too. Because of the Internet and smartphone apps, it is easier than ever to place a bet, legally through a Nevada casino or sports book and illegally on one of a few hundred offshore websites.
“Technology is a factor,” said Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US, the American affiliate of the United Kingdom’s largest bookmaker. “You have this massive illegal market that exists. Type in ‘sports betting’ on Google, and you can find a way pretty quickly to make a bet illegally.”
The ease of funding accounts also has facilitated the process. Lee Amaitis, president and CEO of CG Technology, a global technology solutions provider for lottery, gaming, race and sports wagering, said account-based wagering, a cashless wagering system, has replaced “the over-the-counter, cash-at-the-window business model.”
“Technology helps monitor accountability,” he said. “Our technology makes it easy for us to keep track of players. Once customers sign up for an account, they give us their details. If they don’t pass the system’s criteria, we don’t take them on as customers.