Why Bet on Sports – The Risks & Rewards of Sports Betting

When did sports betting start? Who started it? How did it start? We wish we could answer these questions, but the truth is that no-one knows for sure. There is evidence to prove that betting shops existed in ancient Rome, and many historians have stated that betting on events such as chariot races was common during ancient Greek times. Some people believe that sports betting took place even before then.

We have good reason to believe that people have been gambling on the outcome of sports events ever since organized sports events started taking place. But, regardless of when it started, it鈥檚 a fact that sports betting is big business today. It鈥檚 a pastime enjoyed by literally millions of people all over the world. Some of these people bet very infrequently, while others bet on a regular basis. Some of them bet purely for fun, while others take things very seriously and put real effort into trying to make money.

There are several reasons why sports betting is so popular, but that doesn鈥檛 mean there aren鈥檛 any risks involved. The risks associated with gambling have led to the negative connotations that have also been associated with gambling. As far back as ancient Greek times, there were philosophers who warned of the dangers of gambling. And throughout history, there have been people who claim that it鈥檚 immoral or depraved.

As result of the opposition to sports betting, many nations around the world have banned it at one time or another over the years. These bans have been notoriously unsuccessful. They usually just led to 鈥渦nderground鈥?betting that was unregulated and illegal, which created far more serious problems.

Thankfully, most nations realized this and chose to legalize and regulate sports betting as a result. Some illegal betting still goes on today of course, but most people have plenty of options for placing wagers with licensed bookmakers who operate legally.

Today, sports betting is generally considered a socially acceptable activity. It鈥檚 certainly not something that anyone should be ashamed of, or feel the need to hide. Naturally, there are always going to be people who oppose it. Regardless of what those people think, though, betting on sports is a perfectly legitimate way for people to spend their money.

With that being said, it鈥檚 fair to say that it鈥檚 not an activity that鈥檚 right for everyone. The risks involved cannot be ignored, which is why we鈥檝e written this article explaining them in detail. We don鈥檛 want to discourage you from betting on sports if that鈥檚 what you want to do, but we do believe that everyone should be aware of what they鈥檙e getting into BEFORE they start. So if you鈥檙e thinking about trying sports betting, this is an important article to read. Even if you鈥檝e been betting for a while, there鈥檚 no harm in reminding yourself of the potential downsides of your hobby.

On a more positive note, we also look at the potential rewards of sports betting. We also offer some advice for deciding whether or not this is a suitable activity for you to engage in.

The Risks of Sports Betting

The main risk of sports betting is obvious. Betting on sports involves putting real money on the line, and there鈥檚 ALWAYS a risk of losing that money. Even when backing big favorites, winning is never guaranteed. Sports are ultimately just too unpredictable. Unlikely outcomes are not just possible, they actually happen quite regularly.

A relatively recent example of this came in the 2015 Rugby World Cup when South Africa played Japan. South Africa had twice been crowned world champions, while Japan hadn鈥檛 won a world cup match since 1991. To call this a mismatch was an understatement. South Africa wasn’t just expected to win, they were all but guaranteed to win with ease. The odds of them winning were just 1.05, meaning you鈥檇 have to stake $20 for the chance of winning a single dollar. Not a great return obviously, but surely backing South Africa was a safe bet?

You can probably guess where we鈥檙e going with this. In what was perhaps the most unbelievable upset in the history of rugby, Japan beat South Africa by 34 points to 32.

The Japanese rugby team beat South Africa in a major upset.

This is an extreme example of an unexpected outcome, but it serves to highlight our point. There is no such thing as a 鈥渟afe bet.鈥?Some wagers are safer than others of course, but no wager is ever guaranteed to win. Every single wager carries some degree of risk.

This shouldn鈥檛 come as a surprise really. Sports betting is a form of gambling after all, and all forms of gambling involve risk. But surprising or not, it鈥檚 important to be aware that betting on sports comes with the risk of losing.

In fact, most sports bettors DO lose.

This is the harsh reality of sports betting. The bookmakers have a distinct advantage over their customers because they鈥檙e the ones who get to set the odds and lines. They鈥檙e very good at doing this in a way that makes it very difficult for anyone to make any money in the long run. While it may be possible to win a few wagers every now and then, actually making an overall profit is extremely difficult.

We are only telling you this because we want you to have realistic expectations. Losing money is not just a risk, it鈥檚 the most likely outcome. Even if you鈥檙e extremely knowledgeable about sports, there鈥檚 no guarantee that you鈥檒l be able to win money. It IS possible, but successful betting requires a great deal of effort and hard work. Please don鈥檛 think sports betting represents an easy way to make a quick buck because you鈥檒l almost certainly end up disappointed.

Sports betting carries two other risks that you need to be aware of too. These are as follows.

  • It can cause a range of negative emotions
  • It鈥檚 possible to get addicted

Even if you accept the risk of losing, and are fully prepared for it, losing money can still be an unpleasant experience. You might be able to handle it just fine, but you might not. It鈥檚 not at all uncommon for people to get angry, frustrated or upset when losing money. This is especially likely when they lose money due to unexpected results. Unfortunately, as we鈥檝e already pointed out, unexpected results happen all the time.

Now, feeling bad about losing money is just human nature to some extent. But as natural as it is, it鈥檚 still a risk that you need to consider when deciding whether to bet on sports. Do you really want to get involved with something that has the potential to cause negative emotions? Will you be able to set those emotions to one side, or will they affect other aspects of your life?

The possibility of addiction is a very real risk of sports betting. Or any form of gambling for that matter. People generally assume that they are immune to addiction and that it will never happen to them, but this kind of thinking can be very dangerous. Although only a small minority of gamblers do get addicted, NO-ONE is completely immune. Gambling addiction can happen to even the most unlikely individuals, so please be careful.

There are steps you can take to avoid gambling becoming a problem, and the chances are that you鈥檒l be able to enjoy betting on sports without addiction ever being an issue. It鈥檚 still vital that you鈥檙e aware of the risk though. It doesn鈥檛 matter how smart you are, how rational you are or how disciplined you are. Addiction CAN happen to you.

Now that we鈥檝e looked at the risks of sports betting, let鈥檚 move on to the potential rewards.

Potential Rewards of Sports Betting

The most obvious potential reward of sports betting is the financial one. The chance of winning money will always be attractive. However, money is not the ONLY reward that sports betting has to offer. It can be entertaining and a lot of fun, and it can provide you with a deep sense of satisfaction too.

Let鈥檚 take a look at all the potential rewards in detail.


Just as all forms of gambling carry some risk, all forms of gambling offer the chance of winning money. What makes sports betting different? It鈥檚 possible to win money without relying solely on luck. Your fate is in your own hands, and with the right approach, it鈥檚 possible to win money on a regular and consistent basis.

We mentioned earlier how the bookmakers have an inherent advantage. They build a profit margin into the odds that they offer us, in a similar way to how the casinos build in their house edge. The casino鈥檚 house edge cannot be overcome, but the bookmaker鈥檚 advantage can. This doesn鈥檛 mean it鈥檚 going to be easy though.

Unlike casino games, the outcome of sports events is not random. When we bet on the spin of a roulette wheel, we鈥檙e basically just guessing as to what number will come up and hope for the best. When we鈥檙e betting on sports events, however, we can use our sports knowledge to try to make accurate predictions. Although we鈥檝e already explained how unpredictable sports can be, we don鈥檛 need to make accurate predictions ALL the time. As long we鈥檙e accurate often enough, we can make an overall profit from our betting.

Now, there鈥檚 more to successful betting than just being knowledgeable about sports and making accurate predictions. You need to understand the concept of value, for example, and learn about all the strategy involved. There are various skills you must try to master too. But the fact is that you CAN beat the bookmakers in the long run if you鈥檙e prepared to put in the necessary time and effort. The financial rewards certainly are worth it.

Billy Walters is an extremely successful sports bettor who has made a lot of money.


Very few people do actually win money from sports betting. This is partly because it鈥檚 so hard to be profitable, but also because most bettors don鈥檛 even try. Or they at least aren鈥檛 trying hard enough. The majority of bettors are what we call recreational bettors, and the chance of winning money is not what motivates them. They fully accept that they鈥檙e going to lose money in the long run, and this doesn鈥檛 bother them at all. They鈥檙e happy just as long as they鈥檙e having fun. They view sports betting as a form of entertainment like any other, and their losses are simply the cost of that entertainment.

This is a GREAT way to view sports betting, especially for beginners.

There鈥檚 nothing wrong with aspiring to be a successful bettor. It鈥檚 important to be realistic too though. There are no guarantees that you鈥檒l EVER make an overall profit, and it鈥檚 extremely unlikely that you鈥檒l win money when you first start betting.

With this in mind, we think it鈥檚 a good idea to focus on the fun as a beginner. You can still have the longer term goal of making a profit, and you can still try to form good betting habits right from the outset. But there鈥檚 a lot to be said for just trying to enjoy yourself. Sports betting IS a lot of fun, and it can make watching your favorite sports a lot more exciting. That鈥檚 rewarding in itself.

It should be noted that sports betting can actually be a relatively cheap form of entertainment. Although losing money is the most likely outcome, you don鈥檛 have to lose A LOT of money. You can keep the stakes as low as you want, and there鈥檚 every chance that you鈥檒l win at least a few of your wagers. So even if you lose overall, you can still have plenty of fun without having to spend a fortune.


Some people choose to bet on sports because they鈥檙e up for the challenge of making accurate predictions. They enjoy putting their sports knowledge to the test and seeing if they鈥檙e as good as they think. Just like those who bet for the fun of it, they鈥檙e not really motivated by the money. They obviously appreciate the money they win from their successful wagers, but they appreciate the sense of satisfaction even more.

We can relate to this. Although we do bet 鈥減rofessionally,鈥?and profits are our ultimate goal, we love the FEELING we get when we win our wagers. We won鈥檛 deny that making money is important to us, but we also appreciate the simple joy of being proved right. There鈥檚 nothing more satisfying than predicting an upset.

Those are the three main rewards of sports betting coverage, but there is one more valid reason for betting on sports that we鈥檇 like to bring to your attention.

It鈥檚 VERY easy to get started.

Sports betting is arguably the easiest form of gambling to get started with. You don鈥檛 need to be incredibly knowledgeable about sports, and most of what you do need to know is very straightforward. Providing you learn a few simple basics about betting, you can start placing wagers right away.

Now you just need to decide whether you want to or not.

Is Sports Betting Right for You?

Before you start betting on sports, you should try to determine whether it鈥檚 right for you. The potential rewards are very appealing, but there are risks that need to be taken into consideration too. Asking yourself these questions should help.

  • Do you have an addictive personality?
  • Can you afford to lose some money?
  • Are you comfortable with taking risks?
  • Do you like sports?

If you answered yes to the first question, then the rest are irrelevant. If you have an addictive personality, then you shouldn鈥檛 really be thinking about gambling at all in our opinion. The same applies if you answered no the second question. If you can鈥檛 afford to lose money, then you absolutely shouldn鈥檛 be putting it at risk. This is just common sense.

Assuming that you don鈥檛 have an addictive personality and that you do have some money you can afford to lose, the next two questions are the key ones. If you鈥檙e comfortable with taking risks, and you like sports, then there鈥檚 an excellent chance that鈥檒l you enjoy sports betting. We can鈥檛 GUARANTEE that you will, but it would be worth trying.

Just make sure that you approach sports betting with your eyes wide open. Remember that losing money is the most likely outcome, so you need to be prepared for it. If you鈥檙e seriously interested in trying to make money in the long run, bear in mind that this will take a lot of time and effort. Do NOT expect to start winning right away, because that simply won鈥檛 happen.

If you want some more advice on how to approach sports betting as a beginner, you should read the following article. It will help you decide whether to focus on the fun or strive to make a profit.