Soccer (or “football” in the UK and “futbol” in many Spanish-speaking countries) is arguably the most popular spectator sport in the world, and certainly one of the most widespread. At street level, it can be played without special equipment, and in some cases without a proper ball, so it is seen as a game in which the poor can compete just as strongly as the well off. In many ways, the beautiful game is the ultimate international classless sport, so it is hardly surprising that every four years, FIFA’s Soccer World Cup is watched by billions around the globe.
The growth of broadband Internet access has added even more to its popularity. Through live streaming of games and video sites like YouTube, even fans without access to satellite TV broadcasts can follow their favourite soccer teams and tournaments online. The increased access provided by the Internet has also revolutionised a related field of entertainment: online soccer sports betting. With betting sites tailored to desktop, laptop, tablet and smart phone access, keen soccer fans can put their sports knowledge to profitable use betting online.
Sports betting, like all forms of gambling, is subject to different laws in different jurisdictions. Some nations allow gambling in land-based betting shops and casinos, but no gambling online. Others will allow all forms of gambling, whether online or in land-based operations. Some allow lotteries and sports betting online, but ban casinos; the rules differ from place to place.
South Africa, for example, runs a state lottery and permits online sports betting, including soccer, but dos not allow online casino gambling, to protect the local market for land-based casinos. So soccer fans keen to bet on local, regional or international soccer tournaments must first make sure that their country permits sports betting online. It may be allowed, but restricted to certain online betting shops registered in specified jurisdictions. Punters also want to be sure that they are dealing with a reputable operation.
A search of online review sites will reveal which operations have a reputation for fair play and prompt pay-outs, as well the sites that receive too many customer complaints and should be avoided. Sports betting sites should also display certifications to show they are independently audited for fair play, and that their online security is up to date. A little homework before a player shares personal and banking details with an online soccer sports betting site can save a lot of grief in the long run.
One of the advantages of online soccer sports betting is that the player is in charge: they can place a bet whenever they feel like it, from wherever they happen to be. But gambling responsibly is a matter of personal discipline; if sports betting is to remain fun and profitable, punters should only wager stakes they can afford to lose. Predicting the outcome of games, or specific events during games (time of the first goal, for example) is partly a matter of experience and studying the different teams’ form, but also largely a matter of luck.
Newcomers to online soccer sports betting should probably bet only small amounts as they try out different betting options and test their predictive skills. Properly managed, online soccer sports betting can be a long-term, affordable hobby that delivers welcome windfalls from time to time.