The online gambling landscape has seen some significant shifts in its short history.
Since the mid-Nineties, when the early online poker sites made tentative forays into the gambling industry, developments in technology have drastically altered the lay of the land for everyone.
One of the most significant developments in the history of online gambling was the introduction of the online betting exchange, around the turn of the millennium.
The arrival of online betting exchanges harnessed the potential power of the web to create a wider range of options and selections for gamblers to take advantage of. These broadened horizons shifted the expectations of web users everywhere, and helped to create the wonderfully rich, varied gambling landscape we enjoy online today.
The early pioneers
The first two sites to bring the concept of a betting exchange to the web were Flutter and Betfair, and these two later merged to create the betting exchange under the title of the latter that is widely used around the world today.
The site has since expanded to offer betfair casino, poker, slots, bingo, and traditional sports betting, but it was the site’s famous betting exchange that made the biggest contribution to the gambling industry’s evolution.
Before, anyone seeking to place a bet on a sporting event via the web had to do so through a traditional bookmaker, by finding a destination that was offering the odds they were looking for in a particular market.
Like high street bookmakers, online bookmakers have always been risk averse, and they rely on punters wagering on long shots in the hope of a big win in order to keep their profits up.
But founding partners, Andrew Black and Ed Wray, decided that gamblers deserved better than that. Drawing on their own gambling experiences, they conceived an online destination that would allow punters to create their own markets, with access to an almost limitless range of selections, and odds that were driven by a free market rather than a bookmaker.
How tech made change possible
Before the advent of the internet, a global betting exchange would have been extremely difficult to deliver.
At the turn of the millennium, gamblers all over the world were already in communication with each other via chat rooms, forums, blogs, and discussion boards, and the founders of the early betting exchanges recognised this fact.
They identified an opportunity for these gamblers to bet against each other, without the need for a middle man. All that was needed was a platform through which they could connect with each other.
This was that platform, and its arrival allowed gamblers everywhere to find someone willing to bet against them to create a market for a bet, rather than being limited to the offerings of bookmakers.
What’s more, the technology powering online betting exchanges has since developed, and gamblers can now receive real-time alerts and updates about potential opportunities to place the bets they are interested in.
A bright future for gambling
The success of this story should give gamblers hope of a brighter, fairer future.
After decades of bookmakers dominating the industry, the rise of the betting exchange showed that technology could be utilised to better serve the needs of the customer.
Online gamblers now know that their voice counts. Whether you are a poker player, a casino gamer, a sportsbook enthusiast or a bingo lover, you can shape the online gambling landscape through your choice of destination, and by calling for new technology to be used to create the experience that you are looking for.
The rise of betting exchanges in broadening choice and freedom for gamblers is a significant chapter in the industry, but you can guarantee that the next 15 years hold yet more developments in online gambling technology that will change the game for everyone.