Sports betting could spark real-time TV technology

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Legalized betting combined with smart phones could result in billions in new gambling revenue — with one significant caveat.

In-game microwagering likely will proliferate as states adopt sports betting, with fans able while sitting at the stadium to place wagers on the outcome of the next play (in football), the outcome of the next pitch (in baseball), or various other what-happens-next propositions in other sports. The money generated by those games will explode if it’s not simply part of the in-stadium experience, but something that fans can experience while watching the action from home.

But that’s where it gets tricky. Currently, there’s a lag between the place where the event is occurring and the place where the event is being televised. Allowing for some degree of latency would invite shenanigans if, for example, a guy in Topeka has a guy in AT&T Stadium who can text instantaneously the outcome of the next play, allowing guy in Topeka to beat the system with inside information.

The demand for real-time play-by-play wagering at home could (and should) drive the technological advances necessary to permit the same kind of real-time picture-and-sound transmission that currently occurs between NFL game sites and 345 Park Avenue during replay review, with no delay of any kind. What the person sees at home will be happening at the exact same time in the building, no matter how far away.

That kind of technology (which may not be cheap for the ultimate consumer, but if the ultimate consumer wants to bet during games it will simply be a cost of doing business) would essentially amount to a sports betting Big Bang, allowing the universe of potential bets and potential bettors to continuously expand.

The networks have a clear interest in developing and implementing such technologies ASAP, given that new broadcast contracts will become effective in 2022 (for Monday Night Football) and 2023 (for all other packages). Having the ability to deliver images with immediacy will lay the foundation for the placement of bets between whistle and snap, resulting in more people watching, more people betting, and everyone making more money.

This also will hold the audience in place, giving fans fewer reasons to stray during lulls in the action, since they’ll be scanning the available options for the next bet they’ll be placing, before the next play begins.

However sports betting shakes out, every sports league and network that televises sports should be immediately figuring out how to deliver real-time action, since it will be the best (and perhaps only) way to enjoy real-time action from home.

19 responses to “Sports betting could spark real-time TV technology

  1. High frequency betting, and just like high frequency trading in the markets, the benefits of this new technology is basically nothing.

    Allowing people to bet on everything just stokes gambling addiction.

  2. Even the most degenerate gambler does not bet on every play… what the hell are you talking about. My lord, it’s like gambling on games was invented yesterday.

  3. I understand Mike’s point, but the latency issue is a bit more complicated technically than just wishing a network could solve it. Most signals are distributed via satellite. Sending signals up 23,000 miles and then down 23,000 miles is a long round trip even for things that travel at the speed of light. Encoding signals for transmission and then decoding them for reception adds to the latency. Short of some Star Trek like subspace transmission protocol I don’t see the latency issue as something that is easy to solve and it is likely not economically practical.

  4. From Mayer v. Belichick 2010 spygate case the court ruled NFL is at the same entertainment level as professional wrestling. I wonder what impact this will have on the betting knowingly the NFL can defraud a fan base.

  5. I’m disgusted enough already, but if gambling actually makes it into an NFL broadcast at some point, that will be the last NFL game I ever watch.

    Sure, it’s a business, and business is about money. But once it becomes only about money, there’s no reason to care any longer.

  6. If they start taking up screen real estate on betting bs, I will be pissed. As someone who tapes three games each Sunday, and starts the day three hours in, I have less than zero interest in these gambling gimmicks.

  7. I feel that this could possibly kill sports as we know it. Instead of fans losing, now they will lose and lose money. Ultimately I think it could do more harm than good if people cry “foul!” or “fixed!” when they lose their money especially on a miracle play.

    These days I think people struggle with being objective. We are a very argumentative society these days. This could potentially be like putting non-objectiveness on steroids. That could drive fans away.

    Potentially. Could. It’s possible.

  8. You forget that a delay is intentionally introduced in an attempt to prevent “unsavory” language, images, and actions from being broadcast. Having everything broadcast in real-time will inevitably get the FCC involved at some point. I’m sure the broadcast networks are quite conscious of that.

  9. I foresee a future where every seat has a controller, and the stadium AI combines all fan input on each play into orders for the robot players on the field, like a networked version of Dragon’s Lair. Sure, every other play will be a butt fumble but I won’t complain.

  10. “with fans able while sitting at the stadium to place wagers on the outcome of the next play (in football), the outcome of the next pitch (in baseball), or various other what-happens-next propositions in other sports.”

    Sounds like a way to strip the gambling addicts of every last penny they have.

    Years ago I worked as a mortgage broker in RI and every once in awhile I’d see a credit report that had literally 40 or 50 collection entries from the CT casinos, every one of the entries $1000 at a pop. Advancing betting technology to the point that you can literally bet potentially 100 times or more during 1 game does not strike me as a positive thing.

  11. I sometimes listen to a game on the radio while it’s being broadcast on TV the same time. While the radio may be a few seconds ahead of the TV broadcast, i don’t know if that’s enough time to get on your phone to place a bet on the outcome of a play.

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