YOU’VE never seen spread betting like this.
New online gambling player PointsBet is set to introduce a new style of margin betting that could help you clean up – or take you to the cleaners.
It’s a more complex style of spread betting where the bookie offers the game’s margin and punters bet on whether the final margin will exceed or fall short of that figure.
But the big boon of this betting type is that if your bet is right and exceeds or falls short of the margin by a long way, you will be rewarded with extra dividend on top of your winnings.
But, as with all organised betting, the house always wins in the long run.
There’s a catch: If your bet is badly wrong, you will be liable for more money than your original stake.
The PointsBet website spruiks the new betting feature loud and proud, with a video set to a backdrop of mainly American sports, indicating it is set to capitalise in the rampant interest in the NBA, NFL and to a lesser extent MLB and NHL.
It works using one point increments, with punters rewarded for each point higher than the margin, but penalised for each point below, with maximum wins and losses set for each game.
“New to Australia, spread betting is here,” the video states.
“Expect intense moments.
“Every play amplified.
“For those who know what it takes.
“Every point matters.”
At the moment, it appears to be just in trial phase, but the new novelty has sparked fears among gambling experts that its complexities and promise of huge wins could create and fuel addicts.
In a bid to lure investors, the new bookmaker has released a package that touts: “The more your bet wins, the more you win, the more your bet loses, the more you lose.”
“You get to ride the highs and lows of a sporting event with the team you back.
“Every point they score improves your financial position.”
PointsBet chief executive Sam Swanell told Fairfax papers there would be protection for punters including weekly spend limits and detailed records available.
“We understand it is something different, we will put a lot of effort into education,” Mr Swanell said.
“All the big bookies in Australia all do the same thing; we are bringing something new, different and exciting to the market.”
Swanell is a former TomWaterhouse.com employee with a wealth of experience in the online gaming scene.
Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesman and Monash university public health expert Charles Livingstone told Fairfax spread betting had set a dangerous precedent in Britain and he had concerns it would cause more harm than good in Australia.
“It has the potential to expose punters to considerable un-budgeted expenditure,” Dr Livingstone said.
“Trying to beat bookies is a mug’s game.
“Unfortunately, many young men in particular fancy their expertise and may well end up in serious trouble very quickly by overestimating their actual understanding of particular sports or markets within sports.”
Deakin University marketing and gambling expert Associate Professor Samantha Thomas told the paper she was concerned about the “aggressive advertising campaign” mentioned in the shareholder prospectus.
“Our research clearly shows that young men often take gambling promotions at face-value and are often unaware of the extensive terms and conditions associated with the promotions that online gambling companies offer,” professor Thomas said.
This new betting type is an intriguing prospect for Australia.
For seasoned punters who really know their stuff, there is great money to be had.
Unfortunately, as professor Thomas states, there are many young punters out there who overestimate their ability and could well be impacted heavily by this.
One of the key messages to gamblers is to set a limit and stick to it.
It will be very hard to do that with this type of betting.
You want to have a $20 bet and all of a sudden the margin goes the wrong way and the opposition team wins by 100 points, you could be up for some serious money that you did not budget for.
At the end of the day, though, gambling is a choice and, provided PointsBet ensures its users are well informed and answers any questions they may have, this could be an exciting new market for gamers to take advantage of.
If it goes well, expect the other online bookmakers to follow suit.
Something new, something different, something to be cautious of, but something to add a little more excitement to the sport we watch.
Online game skinned, sues Valve Software
In another case of “only in America” an online gamer has launched court action against web developer Valve Software for allegedly allowing underage gamblers to circumvent the law by trading in “skins” on the game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
The skins are completely useless shells for weapons in the game, but have become serious global currency, with estimates the trade is worth some $2.3 billion.
That’s serious coin.
Gamers bet their skins – akin to gambling chips – on the outcome of matches in the game, with third-party sites linking into the game to allow the skins to be bought and sold.
The gamer’s suit accuses the web developer of “enabling and indirectly profiting from illegal gambling”
The issue is none of the third-party sites require age verification.
The gamer claims in his suit that he lost money as an underage user and alleges the majority of users are under 21.
“In sum, Valve owns the league, sells the casino chips, and receives a piece of the casino’s income stream through foreign websites,” the suit reads.
It’s a suit that could open the floodgates for others, given that experts have been concerned about underage users gambling in the game, leading to addiction in other gaming fields.