Online sportsbooks have been operating throughout the world for over a quarter-century. They’re ingrained in many jurisdictions and, as a result, the go-to options for those wanting to place online bets.
But technology is always evolving and threatening established industries.
Case in point, decentralized betting is slowly becoming a challenger to traditional internet bookmakers. Decentralized wagering offers advantages that betting sites can’t.
But are its benefits enough to help it conquer the betting industry?
I’ll answer this question by taking an in-depth look at the pros and cons of both decentralized betting and traditional online bookmaking. I’ll also offer a recommendation on which type of gambling is best.
Basics of Decentralized Betting
Decentralized wagering refers to a platform that doesn’t feature a central operator. Unlike online sportsbooks, there’s no management or owners running the show.
Of course, a development team must initially create the platform. Many of these teams also raise funds for their project through an initial coin offering (ICO). They’ll sell tokens that are used to place bets to drum up funding for the ICO.
Once they’ve put some or most of the funds towards creating a betting platform, they step back and let the community do the rest.
The beauty of decentralized betting is that it doesn’t require oddsmakers to set lines. Instead, bettors themselves create markets and set odds.
Other gamblers then decide if they want to bet against the person who’s acting as the bookmaker. This process is similar to what betting exchanges do.
Decentralized wagering platforms don’t require high vig/fees either. Instead, they only take a small percentage (usually less than 1%) of the betting action as payment for developers and master nodes (if applicable).
Pros of Decentralized Betting
As mentioned before, decentralized sports gambling offers a few advantages over regular betting sites. Here are the key benefits that you can enjoy when placing decentralized wagers.
No Central Authority
As the word “decentralized” indicates, these platforms don’t feature a CEO, board members, or middle management.
Instead, you can just place bets with other gamblers and not have to worry about any drama.
You don’t have any control over an internet sportsbook. You’re simply relying on the site itself to make necessary improvements.
Of course, you can make suggestions and hope that management acts on them. Again, though, you never have the ability to change anything.
Assuming you have coding skills, then you can contribute to the project.
Even if you know nothing about coding, other community members can join in at any point and work on bettering the project.
Decentralized platforms, however, don’t take anywhere near this amount. Most only collect around 1% juice or less to help maintain the project.
Bank With Confidence
Depositing at online sportsbooks can sometimes be tricky. This is especially true if you live in a grey market that’s served by offshore bookmakers.
You may grow tired of having your credit card deposits and bank transfers rejected.
Instead, all of these platforms accept cryptocurrency deposits.
Bitcoin is definitely the most popular way to fund a decentralized betting account. You may also be able to use other cryptocurrencies to place deposits.
Cons of Decentralized Betting
Decentralized sports wagering is far from popular at this point. You can read about the biggest reasons why it’s currently struggling below.
In theory, decentralized betting sounds perfect. It cuts out the middleman, reduces vig, and lets you and gamblers control the industry. There’s just one problem with all this, though… Virtually nobody is using these platforms!
This lack of understanding creates a huge liquidity problem. The low liquidity leads to few markets and odds existing in the decentralized wagering world.
Much of the general population has a big enough problem learning how to use Bitcoin. They definitely don’t want to deal with an obscure cryptocurrency token. Nevertheless, this is the way that many decentralized projects are going.
The worst part of all is that these tokens aren’t always found on major crypto exchanges. Instead, they’re featured on more-obscure exchanges that may be hard to deposit fiat (e.g. USD) on.
People don’t suddenly develop a decentralized betting project out of the goodness of their hearts. Instead, they want to get something out of the deal.
This payment comes upfront in the crypto world. Project founders often keep a sizable percentage of the tokens they issue through an ICO sale.
Of course, it’s in the founder’s best interests to further a project and increase the token price. Then, they can sell their tokens for more money.
Some teams stick around even after selling off because they feel an attachment to their project. Others, however, simply stop working and exit scam on token holders.
Lack of Bonuses
With no central authority to run the project, decentralized platforms don’t usually offer many bonuses. In fact, some of these platforms don’t provide any bonuses at all.
Basics of Online Sportsbooks
In contrast to decentralized gambling, betting sites do feature owners and management. Top brass makes all of the major decisions regarding an operation.
More and more bookmakers are also accepting Bitcoin. However, they don’t go beyond this aspect when it comes to crypto.
Internet sportsbooks take vig from the losing side of a wager. They collect this juice as a fee for providing odds, facilitating bets, and making payouts.
Pros of Online Sportsbooks
Traditional sportsbooks haven’t been around for 25+ years without legitimate reason. Here are the primary benefits of gambling at betting sites.
You needn’t worry about finding action through internet bookmakers. Most sports gambling sites feature a wide variety of markets and wagering opportunities.
Therefore, you can gamble on both popular and more obscure sports. Examples of the latter include badminton, darts, lacrosse, and table tennis.
Few Barriers to Entry
Online sportsbooks do their best to ensure that you can deposit without hassle. They provide a wide range of banking options.
Here are examples of some ways that you can deposit at betting sites:
- American Express
- Bank Transfer
- Bank Wire
- Western Union
- Bitcoin Cash
In short, you don’t need to purchase some little-known token from a sketchy exchange. Instead, you’ll be funding your account with well-known payment brands.
Even experienced bettors may initially struggle with decentralized wagering platforms. The latter are extremely basic and don’t offer much guidance for placing bets.
Traditional internet bookmakers, on the other hand, make their platforms as simple to use as possible. Even a total novice can get started with little time wasted at a regular betting site.
A deposit bonus matches a percentage of your first deposit.
Cons of Online Sportsbooks
Regular sportsbooks are looking great right now when considering all of the revenue they’re collectively earning. However, they do suffer from the following shortcomings.
Internet betting sites aren’t community-driven projects. Instead, they feature owners and managers. The latter groups make decisions with profitability in mind.
These decisions don’t always favor customers. They aren’t always popular either, such as when bookmakers begin taking more juice in one or more markets.
This amount doesn’t sound terrible in the grand scheme of things. However, it’s over 4% higher than what decentralized betting sites take.
More Rejected Deposits
If it were up to sportsbooks, they’d accept as many deposits as possible. However, they must work with third parties to facilitate deposits.
Banks are notoriously difficult to deal with when it comes to online sports betting. Certain bank chains even reject deposits in perfectly legal betting markets.
Most bookmakers these days obtain licensing in the markets they serve. With that said, they can only allow customers that a given jurisdiction permits.
They need to restrict all other states and countries that aren’t covered in their licensing agreement.
What’s Ultimately Superior?
While I like multiple aspects regarding decentralized betting, it just doesn’t have the liquidity to be a viable option right now.
Many people still don’t even know how to obtain and use Bitcoin. The same crowd isn’t going anywhere near a betting platform that requires a special crypto token.
On the other side, betting sites have no problem at all with liquidity.
Of course, things could change someday, and decentralized betting sites will pick up steam. Gamblers might become more comfortable with cryptocurrencies and look towards the big advantages that decentralized wagering offers.
However, that day seems far off. For now, betting sites are simply the easiest and most logical way to place wagers.
Traditional online betting isn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future. Millions of people log onto internet sportsbooks to place wagers on a daily basis.
Of course, decentralized wagering offers special advantages that make it worth considering. It features low vig, developer community involvement, and 100% accepted deposits.
The big thing that decentralized betting doesn’t have right now, though, is liquidity. Until it starts gaining popularity, then online sportsbooks are still the way to go.