In the modern day, technology continues to divide opinion, and Internet forums are awash with people debating the pros and cons of technological advancements. No matter which side of the fence you sit on with regards to this discussion, there's no doubt that technology has enriched many areas of our lives in ways which most of us would never have thought possible.
One sector that appears to have benefited most from new technology is the sports betting market. With almost half of over 18s in the US placing a sports bet at least once in their life according to Statista, it's no surprise that the sports betting industry is flourishing.
There's no doubt that the sports betting sector is at the forefront of innovation. Because of the intense competition in the industry, forward-thinking brands try to adopt new technology as soon as possible in order to provide customers with the most immersive experience and stand out from the rest.
Sites such as MoPlay.co.uk run comprehensive sports books on real life sports as well as giving customers the opportunity to bet on provably fair virtual "e-sports" events. In addition to this, many online bookmakers now offer live streaming of sports events, which means that you can now watch matches in real time whilst checking and amending your bets accordingly.
It's also worth pointing out that technology that is still in its infancy such as augmented and virtual reality is already well established in the sports betting industry, with sports such as the NBA offering virtual reality packages which allow customers to feel like they have ringside seats to their favorite game.
The social media factor
In its purest form, social media can be likened to digital word of mouth and its value to the sports betting sector cannot be overstated. In a recent study undertaken by Nielsen Sports, it was found that gamblers watched twice as much NFL than non-gamblers, while a further 65% said that they are more likely to comment and post about sports if they have some money riding on the outcome of the game.
In sports a little closer to home, such as cricket and soccer, many of the top gambling providers are extremely active on social media, as are all consumer-facing companies these days.
Interaction with fans is everything: if a gambling company can increase its reach on a platform such as Twitter, where many sports fans take to the platform to air their views on the latest on-pitch happenings, gambling companies can get right in there and passively encourage others to bet on a game just by being in the conversation. In a world where brand awareness and reputation are more important than ever, the role of social media within the sports betting landscape looks set to increase for the foreseeable future.
The NFL's betting scene is worth billions of dollars a year alone. (Source: NFL)
Despite the fact that the sports betting industry remains one of the most popular and rapidly growing gambling sectors, the market is becoming more and more saturated with every passing day and as a result, companies need to make sure that they're not lagging behind when it comes to the overall experience that they're offering their customers.
Having the best mobile app, the ability to watch a game in VR and bet on it at the same time, or bet on a game via voice-controlled digital assistants such as Alexa or Google Assistant, is vitally important not just in this industry but virtually every consumer-facing one too, as technology continues to infiltrate every part of our lives.
Cutting-edge technology is just one of many ways in which sports betting companies try to offer something different to their competitors. Whilst we don't know what's around the corner, it's pretty likely that the $250 billion sports betting industry will be one of the first sectors to trial the newest technology on the market and introduce it to consumers.
— Thomas Hughes, freelance writer