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23. Origins of Asian Handicap Betting

Team-based sporting activities fall under three primary groups:

  1. Those between teams playing within a League system, where the playing members of each team are generally a fixed contingent of personnel (for example, English and Italian League Football).
  2. Those between teams meeting for a one-off match, where the playing members of each team are generally a fixed contingent of personnel (for example, the UEFA Cup).
  3. Those between teams meeting for a one-off match within an ad-hoc grouping of teams, where the playing members of each team will be a fixed contingent of personnel drawn together from a variety of other teams solely for the ad-hoc grouping (for example, the World Cup).

Team-based sporting activities can further be classified into two distinct types of "scoring" categories:

  1. those where the matches have a high-score potential (for example, basketball); or
  2. those where the matches have a low-score potential (for example, football).

When it comes to betting on teams that play within fixed League systems, the results for many of the matches are either:

  1. fairly clear before the event; or
  2. likely to swing either way, with no clear indication one way or the other in advance.

In respect of low-scoring sports such as football, the above impacts on the Odds being offered in the following ways:

  1. For matches where the result seems evident in advance, the odds offered for the obviously stronger team winning are severely reduced, usually such that it is impossible to win money from the bookies if you bet for that team winning on every occasion. Conversely, the odds for an obviously weaker team are very attractive, but as there is little likelihood of such teams winning for you on a regular basis, again the bookies will come out on top.
  2. Because of the compound effect of the bookies' over-round, Fixed Odds betting on accumulators is very unattractive.

In Asia, the pointlessness of Fixed Odds Betting on football matches had long been recognised by the betting public, the philosophy in Asai being that if you are going to gamble, then do it (i) where the returns make it all worthwhile and (ii) where you can get a buzz while watching the event because of the expectation of getting a high return. Favourites (Short Odds) betting in the UK did not provide for this, and a new form of betting had to be devised in order to attract the Asian market away from basketball betting and the like into European soccer betting. The Asian betting market is huge, and the bettors there were very happy to part with their money on American sports betting, primarily because the "spread betting" it employs satisfied the needs just mentioned.

What the Asian betting market particularly did not like about the UK betting market was the unreasonableness of the Fixed Odds when it came to accumulator betting (which Asians tend not only to favour but to go in for in a big way). The introduction of Asian Handicap Betting has turned the tide for the Bookies, in that nowadays twice as much money is placed on soccer betting from Asian sources than is placed from within the UK! The lower margins that Asian Handicap Betting offers the Bookies seems to have been more than compensated for by the take-up volume in the new betting option specifically tailored for the Asian market. What a pity, though, that the Bookies still haven't bothered to re-think the application of Fixed Odds for accumulator betting in order to achieve a fairer option.

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