Historical Perspectives on Sports Economics
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Historical Perspectives on Sports Economics

Lessons from the Field

Edited by John K. Wilson and Richard Pomfret

The sports sector, apart from being of economic significance in itself, is clearly one that many citizens share a great interest in. It is not mere results, but aspects such as history, statistics, interest in labour markets and finances that often spark people’s interest. Historical Perspectives on Sports Economics explores a variety of topics including mega-event analysis, sports governance, anthropometrics, gambling, industrial organisation, infrastructure development and racial issues. 
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Chapter 11: Betting on sport: history, regulation, measurement

Pierre-Charles Pradier


In this very preliminary inquiry, we consider five “systems” of betting on sport, from: (1) private peer-to-peer betting, to (2) commercial bookmaking on multiple outcomes, (3) parimutuel betting on combination of events, (4) real-time betting, and eventually (5) platform intermediated peer-to-peer betting. The evolution from one step to another was mainly driven by betting operators, who played with regulation to supply the customers with betting opportunities that fit their preferences and biases: ball sports displaced horse racing, and live betting cannibalized the other forms of betting since the mid-2000s. The advent of the Internet made regulations difficult to enforce and cut tax income, but solutions to these problems are eventually being found, with algorithms providing for fraud detection and exchange of information enabling the taxation of bettors’ income rather than placed bets. Implementation is still in the waiting, though.

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