Sports bet

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A sports bet is a bet in which money is placed on the occurrence of a sports result. Sports bets are either fixed odds from a bookmaker offered or at variable rates on totalizer or the type of Calcutta Auction completed. In addition, there are so-called betting exchanges where users can bet against each other over the Internet.

Internationally, many betting companies offer a large number of sports betting and thus achieve an annual turnover of between 700 billion and one trillion US dollars worldwide. In Germany , stakes amounting to around four billion euros are made every year. In the traditional way of placing bets, the customer goes to a betting shop, where he fills out a betting slip and deposits the bet in cash. Today, however, placing bets via the Internet is the far more popular option. This has so far represented a legal gray area, especially in countries without a liberalized gaming market such as Germany, as it is possible for the customer to place a bet with an online bookmaker who does not have a recognized license for the respective home country of the customer. Many internet betting providers have their headquarters in so-called tax havens such as Malta or Gibraltar , as they only have to pay comparatively low taxes there.

For some years now, sports betting has not only been played in classic sports such as horse racing or boxing . Today, soccer sports betting dominates matches in the top European leagues, European cup competitions and international matches. Also dog races are - especially in the UK - very popular; In the USA , betting is also popular on baseball games and American football . In the Arab world , for example in Abu Dhabi , camel bets are very popular.

In addition to the normal win bet, several betting options are often possible for a single sporting event: For example, you can also bet on the half-time result, the exact result or the total number of points / goals scored, etc. If a bet has no outcome, it is usually canceled and the player gets his stake back. Reasons for this can be B. a game abandonment or the absence of a player due to illness or injury. However, every bookmaker is authorized to anchor the procedure in this case in their terms and conditions .


With classic sports betting, the customer is offered a fixed rate for each result of a sporting event, from which the possible profit amount can then be calculated. A bet can be placed on any of the possible outcomes.


A typical betting event could look like this on a bookmaker's betting slip:

FC Bayern München – Borussia Dortmund    1 1.50   0 3.50   2 2.50
The output “1” represents a victory for the home team (Bayern Munich).
The "0" (often also "X" ) stands for a tie.
The "2" stands for a victory for the away team (Borussia Dortmund).

In soccer betting and many other sports, the home team is named first by default. In the US, the order is reversed, where the away team is named first. In the case of events that do not have a clear home participant, such as tennis games, the listing order is the responsibility of the bookmaker.

If the customer now places a bet on a win by Bayern Munich at odds of 1.50 and a stake of 10 euros, if they win, they'll get their stake back multiplied by the odds. In this case, the repayment amount would be 15 euros (10 * 1.50). It is more meaningful to calculate the net profit. The net profit is calculated as follows: (stake * (odds - 1)). In the example above, this corresponds to (10 * 0.5) = 5 euros.

With a win rate of 2.0, the possible net profit corresponds exactly to the stake made. A customer would therefore double his stake if he won.


The possible profit that can be achieved when the event occurs is calculated from the odds. In Europe, the odds are usually presented as a factor that multiplied with the stake results in the possible winnings. However, there are numerous other display formats depending on the location. For example, odds in Great Britain (UK) are represented as fractions, in the USA as positive (possible payout for a $ 100 stake) or negative (required stake for $ 100 profit) sums, in Hong Kong factors are also used, which, however, determine the possible net profit and do not show the amount won. The following table compares the various odds formats:

Decimal UK United States Hong Kong Indonesia Malaysia
1.50 1/2 -200 0.50 -2.00 0.50
2.00 Evs (1/1) +100 1.00 1.00 1.00
2.50 3/2 +150 1.50 1.50 -0.67
3.00 2/1 +200 2.00 2.00 -0.50

The payout quota of a bookmaker can be calculated from the odds for every possible outcome of a betting event. A payout ratio of 80% means, for example: If so much money is wagered on every possible outcome of an event that the winnings are the same, the winnings are 0.8 times the capital employed. The ideal bookmaker for the customer would have a payout rate of 100%, but such a high payout would no longer be economical for the betting provider. Betting exchanges and so-called Asian bookmakers often achieve payout rates of 95% and more.

Special bets

Many more bets than the classic win bet (win, draw, defeat) can often be made on an event. This varies from bookmaker to bookmaker. Examples of this are “Who will lead at half time?” “Will there be 0-2 goals or more?” “What is the exact end result?” And so on. A long-term bet is a bet that is not decided within a day: bets on the championship title, Champions League victory, top scorer, Wimbledon winner, etc. The sports bettor can often choose from a variety of special bets for one and the same event.

Bet types

Single bet

The classic single bet (see example above) consists of a bet on the outcome of a single event. A few bookmakers, such as the state betting provider ODDSET, do not allow single bets on certain events, only combination bets with a fixed minimum number of games (usually three) are possible.

Combination bet

Also known as a "combination bet" for short. Several bets on different events are included in one betting slip. The odds of all events are multiplied together and result in the total odds of the combination bet. The stake applies to the entire bet. Example:

Wolfsburg – Nürnberg        1 1.60
Freiburg – Bayern          2 1.90
Bielefeld – Kaiserslautern  X 3.30

These three bets are included in the combination bet. The total odds are calculated by multiplying the individual odds with each other: (1.6 * 1.9 * 3.3) = 10. With a stake of 10 euros, the possible profit would be (10 * 10) = 100 euros. However, the bet is only won if every single event in the combination bet has been correctly guessed. The high odds are often tempting, but the higher the number of tips, the lower the chance of winning. Combination bets are therefore not generally more lucrative than single bets. The number of allowed combinations differs from bookmaker to bookmaker, often up to 10 or more games can be combined with each other.

System bet

A series of similar combination bets is collectively referred to as a system bet. A system bet can still be won even if one or more tips are wrong, but the winnings are then reduced. System bets are described in the form X from Y, for example 3 out of 5 or 4 out of 7 (similar to 6 out of 49 in the lottery ). The first number denotes the number of tips that must be at least correct to win. The second number indicates the total number of games bet. As many different combination bets as possible are formed from these games, each combination bet consists of the number of bets that must be at least correct. In a system bet 3 out of 5, all possible different combinations of three are formed from the 5 games. Each of these resulting combination bets is also called a "betting series". The stake is calculated per betting series. If you bet 2 euros in 10 betting lines, the total bet is 20 euros. Example:

Wolfsburg – Nürnberg          1 1.60
Freiburg – Bayern             2 1.90
Bielefeld – Kaiserslautern    X 3.30
Manchester – Chelsea          2 3.50
Real Madrid – Barcelona       1 2.00

This bet could now be played as a 3 out of 5 system bet. All possible different combinations of three of these 5 games are then formed, in this example a total of 10 combinations. One of these combinations could look like this:

Wolfsburg – Nürnberg          1 1.60
Bielefeld – Kaiserslautern    X 3.30
Real Madrid – Barcelona       1 2.00

If only 2 or less of the 5 tips are correct, the entire bet is lost. If 3 tips are correct, one of the 10 betting series is correct. In the above example, the profit would be (2 * 1.6 * 3.3 * 2.0) = 21.12 euros. A total of 20 euros stake for the 10 betting series would result in a net profit of 1.12 euros. With 4 or 5 correct tips, the number of correct rows increases, with 5 correct tips all 10 rows would be correct. System sports bets can definitely be compared with the lottery: The winnings increase with the number of correct tips, with a small number of correct tips you usually only get back a little more than the stake.

Live betting

Live bets are an extension of the traditional betting offer, the possible submission of which ends with the start of the event (plus a possible acceptance grace period). You can bet on many different events while the game is running. The attraction for the bettor lies in the quick sequence of betting options and the supposedly better assessment of the coming events based on the sequence seen. Live bets are offered both on the Internet and in betting shops, but not every provider offers such bets, and live bets are often limited to selected sporting events compared to traditional betting offers.

The reason is that for every live event the odds have to be adjusted during the current season or the placing of bets has to be suspended if, for example, a goal has been scored or a red card has been given. To do this, the betting provider has to employ employees who follow the sporting event live. The odds adjustments are partly fully automatic, for example based on the score, the incoming stakes or the ongoing playing time.

Some betting providers outsource these tasks to external service providers. These companies have specialized in the live transmission of detailed information on current sporting events and forward the score, the elapsed playing time and important game events to their customers, in this case the betting providers. In order to be able to offer bets on events that are not broadcast live on television, or to minimize the time delay that occurs during television broadcasting, employees can also be sent directly to the venue (e.g. a football stadium). These employees are known as "spotters". The spotter follows the game and enters the information into a portable computer, which is then forwarded to the headquarters via a wireless network connection and from there to the betting providers. Compared to watching a television broadcast, this activity is much more time-consuming and incurs high costs (travel expenses, tickets, technical equipment).

The time delay with which betting odds are adjusted to the course of a sporting event can be exploited to fraud , especially if no spotter is used by placing bets from the venue (court riding ).

Sports betting as a professional source of income

Although sports betting is often viewed as a game of chance in the public perception, similar to poker , it contains a skill component in addition to the random component. The difference to classic games of chance such as roulette or slot machines is that the probability of a bet winning can in some cases be higher than the probability of winning implied by the odds. In this case, the bet has a positive expected value . If a player is able to place only such bets, for example through information advantage or mathematical calculations, he can make long-term profits. There are players who have perfected these methods to the point that they can make a living from sports betting alone. Such people are also known as professional players. The professional sports bettor and betting fraudster Ante Šapina , convicted in the context of the soccer betting scandals in 2005 and 2009, testified in court that betting was like mathematics for him.

In the US-American-speaking area, where betting of any kind has a long tradition, such players are referred to as sharp players or wise guys . As early as the early 19th century, there were such professional gamblers who made a living by betting.

Betting broker

In the professional sector, there are real broker services (betting agents) in which the customer does not place his bets himself, but rather gives the provider an appropriate order so that he can make the bet for him. Such services can be used through appropriate networks to make it easier to place high stakes on the market across multiple bookmakers if no single provider accepts the desired stake. In addition, they offer the customer a certain anonymity, since it is not he himself who makes the bets but the broker. Since these institutions sometimes make very high stakes depending on the amount invested, they usually place their bets on the Asian betting market, where the sales and thus the possible stakes are many times higher than in other regions. It is assumed that the bets placed in Asia in the previous so-called soccer betting scandals , which often reached six-figure amounts, were at least partially placed through such services.

Situation in Germany


In Germany, some sports bets are offered daily by the state betting provider ODDSET . This offers sports betting in ODDSET acceptance points in Germany or in special betting offices.

In addition, there are private providers and a large number of smaller betting brokers who broker sports betting on behalf of them. The private sports betting providers claim their legitimacy partly on the basis of licenses of the last GDR government, which would have become valid in all of Germany due to the unification treaty, and partly on the basis of a legal license in another member state of the EU under European law . The State Treaty on Gaming, which has been in force since July 1, 2012, provides for market opening for a limited number of private sports betting providers. The betting provider ODDSET, on the other hand, is of the opinion that it is currently the sole legal provider of sports betting in Germany.

Legal situation

The offering of sports betting is subject to approval in Germany, but cannot be approved due to the applicable "State Treaty on Lotteries in Germany" - organizing without a license and participating in such sports betting in Germany is punishable as unauthorized gaming according to Section 284 , Section 285 of the Criminal Code ( StGB). However, new permits have not been granted by the federal states for years - and were never granted to private companies in the old federal states - which means that ODDSET is practically a monopoly, which, however, is being questioned by the private providers of sports betting. In particular, reference is made to the primacy of European law over German law.

Sports betting fraud has been a criminal offense since April 19, 2017 ( Sections 265c to 265e StGB). According to this, athletes, coaches and referees can expect up to three, in severe cases up to five years, imprisonment if they influence competition results in favor of an opponent and to gain advantages.

On March 28, 2006, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that a state monopoly for sports betting is not compatible with the basic right to freedom of occupation under Article 12 (1) of the Basic Law , unless it is consistently geared towards combating addiction risks. It has given the legislature to re-regulate the organization and brokerage of sports betting by December 31, 2007 in compliance with the constitutional requirements. A constitutional state can be achieved both through a consistent design of the betting monopoly, which ensures that it really serves to combat addiction, and through a legally standardized and controlled approval of commercial events by private betting companies. In addition, the Federal Constitutional Court has ruled that the commercial staging of bets by private betting companies and the brokering of bets that are not organized by the Free State of Bavaria (the proceedings were pending there) can continue to be viewed as prohibited and may be prohibited by law. This means that private sports betting offices may be forcibly closed by the competent authorities. Whether in the transitional period until a new legislation a criminal liability under § 284 is given the Criminal Code, subject to the decision of the Constitutional Court of the decision of the criminal courts.

In its judgment, the Federal Constitutional Court also confirmed, in particular with regard to Community law, that the requirements of German constitutional law run parallel to the requirements formulated by the European Court of Justice on Community law. According to its case-law, the prohibition of brokering in other Member States is compatible with Community law only if a state monopoly really serves the purpose of reducing opportunities for gaming and the financing of social activities by means of a levy on the income from authorized games is only useful This is a secondary consequence, but not the real reason for the restrictive policy pursued (see ECJ, judgment of November 6, 2003 - Gambelli and others, ECR 2003, I-13076, para. 62). The requirements of Community law thus correspond to those of the Basic Law.

However, practice since the BVerfG's judgment has shown that the legal situation has by no means been clarified since then. On the one hand, the private providers of sports betting are now observing very closely to what extent ODDSET fulfills the obligations set out in the judgment of March 28, 2006 (ban on advertising, information on addiction risks). On the other hand, the violation of European law through a purely national sports betting monopoly for ODDSET is brought into play, i. H. specifically a violation of the freedom to provide services existing at European level under the EC Treaty . However, the decisions of the highest and higher courts in Germany up to October 25, 2006 all confirmed the betting monopoly (see e.g.). On October 14, 2008, the Federal Constitutional Court first dealt with the new provisions of the State Treaty on Gaming (GlüStV). In the opinion of the court, the provisions of the GlüStV and in particular the prohibition of organizing and brokering public games of chance on the Internet (Section 4 (4) GlüStV) and the transitional provisions for 2008 (Section 25 (6) GlüStV) are reasonable and therefore constitutional not to complain about. The criminal law assessment of the facts is to be seen completely independently of this (see e.g.).

With its rulings on September 8, 2010, the European Court of Justice declared the actual implementation of the monopoly to be incompatible with European law.

The Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, stated in a decision of November 23, 2010: "Because in these decisions the ECJ did not declare the provisions of the State Treaty on Gaming to be contrary to European law". In the specialist literature it is also stated: “The ECJ has only decided that a state monopoly on sports betting and lotteries is incompatible with EU law if it does not actually avoid incentives to excessive spending on gaming in a coherent and systematic manner Fighting gambling addiction. "" For future gaming law in Germany, the decision of the ECJ in a certain way forms a parallel under Union law to the statements made by the BVerfG in its ruling on the Basic Law in March 2006. It should therefore be noted that the federal and state governments are within the framework of their competencies, also from the point of view of Union law, continue to have room for maneuver, which includes both a monopoly solution and liberalization. "


At the end of June 2012, the German Bundestag passed an amendment to the Racing Betting and Lottery Act (RennwLottG, RWLG) that came into force on July 1, 2012 , which regulates the taxation of sports betting. Accordingly, a uniform tax rate of 5 percent of the stake applies to all providers of sports betting (also for the state ODDSET bet and foreign providers) (§ 17 RWLG). Taxation is also applied to sports betting on the Internet. 5 percent is also charged for horse betting (Section 10 (1) RWLG). According to § 24 RWLG, all income is distributed to the federal states according to a fixed formula and flows into the state budgets. Since the law came into force until March 31, 2015, sports betting tax of 554 million euros has been collected nationwide.

Effect of betting tax on odds in internet betting

Although a betting tax of 5 percent of the stake is stipulated by law according to Section 17 (2) RWG, the foreign betting providers handle this in different ways for their customers from Germany.

Some betting providers still do not levy any taxes and certainly do not pass them on to the Federal Republic of Germany or the federal states. They argue that they are based in Gibraltar or Malta and cannot know whether the customer is actually in Germany when placing a bet on the Internet.

Another group of betting providers regards the amount of money wagered in a sports bet as a stake plus betting tax. This means that if a customer places an amount of 100 euros in a bet with odds of 2.0 (odds as a factor - see section on odds), these 100 euros are already 105 percent of the bet. The real bet is only 100 euros: 1.05 = 95.24 euros. If the bet is won, only an amount of 2.0 * 95.24 euros = 190.48 euros is paid out. In the end:

tatsächliche Quote = angegebene Quote : 1,05

In turn, other betting providers allow the amount staked by the customer to count as a bet, but deduct 5 percent from the payout amount in the event of a win, or in other words only pay 95 percent. So if a customer stakes 100 euros in a bet with odds of 2.0 and wins it, he will only get 2.0 * 100 euros * 0.95 = 190 euros. In this case:

tatsächliche Quote = angegebene Quote * 0,95.

Legal situation in the USA

Sports betting is offered in the gambler's paradise Nevada.

In mid-May 2018, the Supreme Court lifted a US-wide ban, leaving it up to each state to regulate sports betting. The black market is estimated to be worth billions of dollars.


The history of sports betting is closely linked to the development of sporting competition. The first records of official sports betting are from the year 676 BC. Dated when the ancient Greeks bet money or other assets on the outcome of a competition at the 23rd Olympic Games . Even then, there were spontaneous bets, i.e. This means that bets could be made at short notice during the ongoing competition. With the rise of the Roman Empire , they also took over sports betting from the Greeks, whereby in the Circus Maximus it was already possible to bet on the outcome of chariot races. With the fall of the Roman Empire, sports betting also lost its importance. Only in the Middle Ages was betting made during knight tournaments, but only in private.

Sports betting experienced its great boom in Great Britain in the 18th century. Even then, the first bookmakers were founded that still exist today - such as Ladbrokes. In horse races they were used to finance the event itself with the proceeds. The boom in horse betting was intensified by the fact that the horse industry had a special economic and military importance until the 20th century, which is why it was not covered by the state gambling monopoly. Based on the English model, the first horse race with sports betting took place in Germany in 1810.

From 1921 onwards, football betting gradually began to establish itself as the most popular type of sports betting, as the Toto game was introduced in England in 1921 . From there it conquered half of Europe, and in 1948 the "Bavarian State Football Pool" was founded in Germany. From 1960 began the legalization of some betting shops in England, which paved the way for football betting to become the most popular sports bet.

Amounted to

In the soccer betting scandal in 2005 , a. manipulated by former DFB referee Robert Hoyzer games from the 1st Bundesliga , 2nd Bundesliga and Regionalliga as well as the DFB-Pokal in order to achieve high profits with unusual results.

See also


  • Johannes Dietlein , Manfred Hecker, Markus Ruttig: Commentary on Gambling Law , CH Beck Verlag, Munich 2008.
  • Martin Heger : Criminal liability of games of chance, sports betting and house raffles via the Internet in the light of European law , Journal for International Criminal Law Dogmatics (ZIS) 2012, 39 ( PDF )
  • Vasileios Petropoulos: The criminal liability of sports betting with fixed winning quotas - At the same time, discussion of BVerfG, ruling v. March 28, 2006 - 1 BvR 1054/01 - In: wistra . Journal of Commercial and Tax Criminal Law , 25th year, 2006, pp. 332–336.
  • Luca Rebeggiani, Markus Breuer: New order, new happiness? Regulatory and fiscal policy aspects of the German sports betting market , in: Wirtschaftsdienst 2017, 97th vol. (9) pp. 655–663 ( [1] ).
  • Maren Thaysen: Sports betting in Germany: On the legal admissibility of the new state monopoly and a liberalized sports betting market , Nomos Verlag, Baden-Baden 2009.
  • Franz W. Peren, Reiner Clement, Wiltrud Terlau: The economic costs of a monopoly of sports betting in the Federal Republic of Germany, The economic effects of the State Treaty on gaming for the German sports betting market , 2010, -Sport betting final1-02.pdf
  • Petra Wolff: Sports betting despite betting tax , CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013

Web links

Commons : Sports Betting  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Sportwette  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Football betting - the global gambling industry worth billions BBC Sport, October 3, 2013, accessed October 29, 2014.
  2. Interview with Luka Andric from the German Sports Betting Association . Bettingexpert, October 15, 2014, accessed October 29, 2014.
  3. Ben Rumsby: Q&A: What is courtsiding? In: Sport on alert after first arrest for 'courtsiding' at Australian Open. The Telegraph, London, January 16, 2014, accessed January 16, 2014 .
  4. Betfair Mysteries III: Courtsiding. Sports Trading Life, June 16, 2011, accessed January 16, 2014 .
  5. Whispers of betting . Online article on the website of the newspaper “Der Tagesspiegel”. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  6. ^ Football: betting scandal - chair for gamblers . Website of the Süddeutsche Zeitung
  7. ^ History of Gambling in the United States ( Memento September 10, 2010 in the Internet Archive ). California State Library website, excerpt from Roger Dunstan's “Gambling in California” (in English)
  8. ↑ Match- fixing: Investigators suspect foreign assets from sponsors . Article on the Internet edition of the magazine "Spiegel". Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  9. ^ Text of the State Treaty on Gambling
  10. ^ Amendment of the Criminal Code on April 19, 2017
  11. BVerfG, judgment of March 28, 2006, Az. 1 BvR 1054/01, BVerfGE 115, 276 - Sports betting = NJW 2006, 1261.
  12. ECJ, judgment of 6 November 2003 , Az. C-243/01.
  13. BVerfG, judgment of March 28, 2006 , Az. 1 BVR 1054/01.
  14. BVerwG, judgment of June 21, 2006
  15. Bavarian Administrative Court, judgment of July 10, 2006 (PDF; 136 kB)
  16. ^ Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia, decision of June 28, 2006
  17. Higher Administrative Court of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, decision of September 7, 2006 (PDF; 80 kB)
  18. ^ Higher Administrative Court Rhineland-Palatinate, decision of September 28, 2006 ( Memento of March 15, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  19. BVerfG, decision of October 14, 2008 , Az. 1 BVR 928/08.
  20. - ( Memento of November 7, 2006 in the Internet Archive )
  21. ECJ (Grand Chamber), judgment of September 8, 2010 - C-316, 358, 359, 360, 409, 410/07 Markus Stoss u. a./Wetteraukreis; Kulpa Automatenservice Asperg-GmbH u. a./ State of Baden-Württemberg; ECJ (Grand Chamber), judgment of 8 September 2010 - C-46/08 Carmen Media Group Ltd./Land Schleswig-Holstein; ECJ (Grand Chamber), judgment of September 8, 2010 - C-409/06 Winner Wetten-GmbH / City of Bergheim.
  22. ^ Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia, order of November 23, 2010, Az. 13 B 1016/10, BeckRS 2010, 56942
  23. Dr. Michael Lysander Fremuth , comment on ECJ (Grand Chamber), judgment of September 8, 2010 - C-316, 358, 359, 360, 409, 410/07, NVwZ 2010, 1417
  24. Prof. Dr. Jörg Ennuschat, European Court of Justice overturns gambling monopoly! Or not? Commercial archive 2010, 425 (427)
  25. Reuters: Comprehensive taxation of sports betting in future
  26. Racing Betting and Lottery Act
  27. Federal Ministry of Finance, Treasury tax revenue by type of tax and local authority for the years 2012 to 2015. (PDF; 16 kB)
  28. US Supreme Court allows sports betting in the US, May 14, 2018, accessed May 14, 2018.
  29. ^ States are free to authorize sports betting, Supreme Court rules
  30. ^ The development of the sports betting, February 23, 2016, accessed on April 20, 2016.
  31. ^ SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg, Germany: FUSSBALL: Die Hoyzer - DER SPIEGEL 6/2005. In: Retrieved May 28, 2016 .