There is a perception that you’re not allowed to bet on amateur sports or leagues within said sports. In reality, there is nothing illegal or frowned upon about doing so, it’s just that the majority of bookmakers won’t offer odds on such events. There are numerous reasons for this, with the main one being that they are far more susceptible to match-fixing or the likes than professional sports.
Even if you are able to find a bookie that’s willing to take your wager on an amateur sport, the chances are that the odds and payout limits that they’ll offer you will be extremely disappointing. There is usually an exception to be found with the big Olympic events, but even they will often be limited in terms of what markets you’re offered. On top of that, it’s misleading to suggest that the modern Olympics is an amateur exercise.
Why Bookies Shy Away From Amateur Sports
The main reason it’s difficult to bet on amateur sports is that bookmakers tend to shy away from offering markets on amateur events. There are numerous reasons for this, though the most obvious one is that they are liable to suffer from potential match-fixing. Amateur sports, by their very definition, involve amateurs. Unlike in professional sports, where the participants are paid, the sports people involved will likely need money.
That is exactly the sport of situation that betting syndicates look out for, hoping to take advantage of something struggling for cash and happy to ‘fix’ an aspect of a match or event in return for money. Amateurs can still earn money through prizes and so on, but they aren’t actively paid to train and participate in matches and this makes them vulnerable to attempted bribes, which bookies are all too aware of.
Another thing that bookmakers have to be aware of is that there will be people that know much more than them. Whilst it’s likely that a die-hard supporter of Blackpool or Wolverhampton Wanderers will know more about their club than a bookie, professional levels of football see huge amounts of statistical data for bookmakers to work off. The same is not true of an amateur level of sports, where supporters will know more.
This means that bookies can’t always be guaranteed to offer good odds, sometimes getting things spectacularly wrong and seeing those with the knowledge taking advantage of their mistakes. It means that the temptation is always there to just not bother covering the sports in any depth, or else offering terrible odds when they do decide to offer a degree of coverage, which is the decision that most bookmakers opt for.
There’s No Professional Code Of Conduct
The simple truth about amateur sports and leagues is that there’s no way to force participants to follow a specific code of conduct or set of rules and regulations for said sport. This is because amateurs are generally not required to sign a contract, whilst the lack of payment for what they’re doing means that there isn’t necessarily a threat of taking something away from them, such as pay, that can be made against them.
This, of course, ties in with the idea of amateur sports people being more liable to bribes or being asked to fix a match. Obviously it would be hoped that most people would be honourable, but not everyone is in life and if there’s nothing dissuading people from behaving in a nefarious way then it’s fair to say that they might just do that. It’s where the big difference between amateur and semi-professional sports comes into play.
Bookmakers can have confidence that the majority of professional sports are played out in good faith. Even when there are instances of that not being the case, bookies have systems in place to mean that it can be spotted when large sums of money are being staked on unusual outcomes. The same is not true of amateur sports, leading most bookmakers to offer poor odds on the various markets in order to protect their bottom line.
Bookies are all about the balance of risk and reward, accepting that they’ll have some losses but that they don’t matter as long as the majority of bets go their way. As a result, they will put the possible payouts on sports that they don’t know very well extremely low, which is a decision taken to limit their liability. It’s also a matter of cost when it comes to offering markets, with a lack of popularity meaning it isn’t worth them doing so.
Bookmakers want to avoid situations in which they have an unbalanced book, which is entirely possible if they offer too many markets on amateur sports that they know nothing about. This is not a good situation for bookies to find themselves in, so they simply don’t let themselves get into it where it can be helped. It’s simply not worth bookmakers pricing up most amateur events, with the obviously exception of the biggest ones.
What To Look Out For
It is entirely possible for bookmakers to change their terms and conditions event to event, so if you’ve found a bookie that is willing to offer you a market on an amateur event that you wish to bet on then makes sure you check out those Ts and Cs. The first thing you’ll want to do is to have a look at the stake limits and the payout limits, with most bookmakers offering much lower stakes and payouts on amateur sports than on professional ones.
This is because the companies in question want to limit their own risk. As a result, you payout maybe limited, unless you have a good relationship with your favourite bookie and are able to request a higher payout on the market that you wish to bet on. Even then there’s no guarantee that they’ll offer it to you, so don’t be surprised if they don’t. Ultimately, bookmakers are the ones in charge of deciding what you can and can’t bet on when it comes to amateur sports.