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Few industries have been impacted by improvements in technology as sports betting. So much so, the habits of gamblers in the previous generation seem like something from a Flintstones movie to today’s sports bettors. Leaving your home to visit a high-street betting office or casino, writing out your selections on a paper slip using a comically tiny pen, then paying for your bet with paper money. Yes, the sports betting sector has certainly come on leaps and bounds over the last two decades or so. Today, bets are placed on the move using smartphone apps, researched with access to the latest data and paid for electronically. Some betting apps even accept cryptocurrencies.

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Increased access to information has allowed the best sports betting apps to offer an abundance of markets on major sporting events. Take horse racing, for example. At a major event like the Cheltenham Festival in England, each race will have dozens of ways to bet. In addition to win and each way, there’s forecast, tricast, match betting, number of fallers and finishing position. You can even gamble on a betting favourite not to win the race. There is now a world of opportunities for gamblers, and that is responsible for a sharp increase in the number of bets placed every day, the value of those wagers and the winnings paid.

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The need for increased protection

For decades, sports gambling has been legal in the United Kingdom but not in other parts of the world. Take the United States, for example. There it was necessary to travel to Las Vegas to gamble on sports and casino. Following the removal of the blanket ban on betting, each state now decides the direction they want to go in regarding gambling. New Jersey was the first to permit betting within its borders, and they were followed by a host of other regions. In Canada, the restrictive rules on sportsbook betting have been eased, giving players more choice, opportunities, and value.

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According to a recent study, over 45 million people in the United States will place a bet this year on the National Football League, which is above a 35% rise on the previous 12 months. There is an estimated sports betting revenue of $270m to NFL teams now coming from bets and partnerships with betting companies. This could be from opening betting stands at stadiums, shirt sponsors, advertising at venues and on matchday merchandise, online promotion and more. It’s little wonder we’ve seen online gambling products take advantage of those rule changes and explode onto the scene this year.

With online gambling now more accessible, the industry attracts new players every day. Sports fans are in a desperate rush to enjoy their new freedoms or take advantage of the increased number of betting opportunities. Betting on the outcome of an event allows players to add a little extra excitement to a fixture. It also provides another reason to cheer if both your favourite team and your wager are successful. But online betting is not without its risks. There are many dangers associated with online gambling, from the risk of children being exposed to betting, identity fraud, wagering more than you are comfortable with due to the convenience of it all and the risks involved with paying for bets using a debit card or e-wallet.

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Thankfully, advancements in technology have helped to make the industry more secure. The most popular online gambling apps are eager to attract as many legal bettors as possible. To help them achieve that, they must run the latest online security measures to allow their customers to enjoy the peace of mind and confidence that comes from knowing their privacy and sensitive information are protected against cyberattacks.

AI can guard against underage gambling

There is an increased reliance on 5G in modern betting, but the same technology is being used to improve the security of online betting, including gambling addiction. This could be as simple as banning betting adverts during popular sporting events, something that is already being investigated and tested in the United Kingdom. This is a simple measure that would allow children and those under the legal gambling age to enjoy sports live on television without being exposed to adverts that aren’t suitable for their age group.

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There are other options, of course, with one being user verification. Online gambling is convenient, allowing you to bet from the comfort of your own home, never requiring human interaction. But how does a bookmaker know you are who you claim to be and not a fraudster or underage gambler? AI technology allows bookmakers to run double verification, checking your government issued ID against the details recorded on your betting account and a video call. A quick call to your smartphone checks your passport information then allows the sportsbook to verify your details on the call. Does your face match your passport photo, and are you old enough to gamble? These checks can be completed in seconds, posing little interruption to your gambling experience.

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That’s great for minimalizing the risk of underage betting, but it has no impact on a gambler who is old enough to create an account and place bets from placing more wagers than they are comfortable with or getting into debt through betting. In the UK, there are bookies who run a pop-up message – similar to what you’d see on a cigarette packet – warning about the dangers of betting. This message has to be seen and read before a user can clear it and start placing bets. There are also time limits that you can set yourself or the bookmaker can set. After a certain period of time, a message will appear on your screen, acting as a reminder of how long you’ve been betting for with an opportunity to stop.

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Other limits available to users of online gambling apps are spent and frequency of bets. Limit the cash you can deposit to your account on a day, week or month. This can’t be changed or increased. Limit how many bets you make in an agreed timeframe or the value of your wagers. Again, this is monitored by the bookie and can’t be altered.

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