Originally, sports betting was typically limited to betting on the outcome of a sports event, but today the field of sports betting is much larger and more varied, and you can find opportunities for betting on a wide range of things, e.g. player transfers, the results of individual players, and more. Another important change is that the advent of live betting means that we can bet during a sporting event instead of before it, which in turn has given rise to very short-term betting options such as “who will get the next red card in this match” or “will a goal be maid in the next 10 minutes in this game”.
Race betting is usually seen as an offshoot of sports betting. When it comes to greyhound racing and horse racing, parimutuel betting is more common than fixed-odds betting. (That is by the way also true for jai alai in the United States, even though jai alai is a ball game played by humans.) Greyhound racing is pretty much the same world-wide, but when it comes to horse racing the options are multiform. You can wager on flat racing, steeplechasing, harness racing and more.
Parimutuel betting is a betting system where all wagers of the same type are pooled. The arranger removes their own cut from the pool (this is known as the vig) and also sets aside any taxes required by law. The rest of the pool is then paid back to winning gamblers, based on the size of the pool and the number of winning wagers. With this system, you can not know beforehand how much you will win if you get paid on your wager. This make parimutuel betting very different from fixed-odds betting.
With fixed-odds betting, you get to know the odds in advance and the bookmaker must pay you in accordance with these odds even if a lot of punters made the correct prediction. Unlike parimutuel betting, your win from fixed-odds betting will not be diminished just because a lot of other punters bet on the same outcome as you and were right. Also, your win will not be determined by the size of any betting pool. If the bookmaker offers you the odds 5:1 and you win, the bookmaker must pay you in accordance with these odds even if the bookmaker didn’t receive enough wagers on this sporting event to cover the cost of your win.
Examples of bets
This is a bet on who will win. You only get paid of your prediction comes true.
If you think that someone (a person, a team, a horse, etc) will finish high, but isn’t sure if they will actually win, you can make a wager on them placing. Always check the rules with your bookmaker, because exactly what constitutes a place varies. In some cases, you will get paid if that someone you wagered on place anywhere in the span #1-3. In other cases, only place #1-2 will be sufficient for you to get paid. There are also cases where even a fourth place will be high enough for you to win your place bet. This is why it’s so important to check the T&C’s in advance.
A single is a single bet, e.g. a bet on which team will win a game of cricket.
A double is a bet that comprises two selections, e.g. the winners of two games of cricket. You must get both selections right to get paid. If only one of your predictions come true, you lose your entire wager.
A treble is similar to a double, with with three selections that all must come true for you to win something.