In Britain particularly, visiting a bricks and mortar bookmaker to bet on horseracing or soccer used to seem like a tech-free activity. Punters would happily walk up to a store on the high street, fill out a slip after consulting a sheet of paper with odds, and then pay in cash, using a copy of the slip as a receipt. If the punter was lucky enough to win, they’d return with the slip and collect cash winnings: simple.
However, we’ve come a long way since those tech-free days and, for online bookmakers across the globe, technology underpins everything they do, from working out odds to keeping transactions secure. Since sports betting was legalized in New Jersey in 2018, we’ve seen a number of other US states follow suit. With the sports betting market worth an estimated $700bn to $1tn each year, it’s worth considering the technology behind how online bookmakers keep payments secure. First, we’ll look at sign-up options for prospective customers and deposit methods before discussing the super smart tech behind eWallet and cryptocurrency payment solutions.
How Can I Find an Online Bookmaker that Works for me?
Each bookmaker is different, and each will have their own USPs, such as the payment methods they accept and the offers they provide customers. As a result, before you sign up to use a bookmaker, you should check whether they offer any bonuses or free bets, as these welcome offers can be used to try out a new bookie platform before you commit for the long-term.
In addition, if you’re thinking about signing up with an online sports bookmaker, you should also find out the range of sports that they allow you to place wagers on, to make sure your favorite is included. Finally, before you sign-up, read reviews from fellow punters to make sure others have been happy with the service offered.
How Can I Deposit Money with an Online Bookmaker?
Once you’ve found a bookmaker, you need to understand how you can deposit your money and how it’s kept safe. Generally speaking, most bookmakers will accept credit cards and debit cards for initial deposits. However, in some quarters, even these methods are considered to be outdated. As a result, most online bookmakers will offer other deposit and withdrawal options through what are known as ‘eWallets’ (although you may be excluded from using any bonuses when you use eWallets for your initial deposit). eWallets are often offered by companies such as Skrill, PayPal or Neteller, with PayPal being the most popular option. Although still in its infancy, a select number of online bookmakers also allow for cryptocurrency transactions, such as bitcoin.
Now we’ve examined the basics, let’s take a look at the super smart technology behind the payment options offered, and how they help to keep the money wagered by customers safe.
eWallets: Extra Security, Faster Transaction Times
When compared with debit and credit card transactions, eWallet solutions provide customers with additional security. This is because, with card transactions, a customer inputs their details directly into the site. However, with eWallets, the details are not shared with the provider, which offers the customer more control over who has their information. However, arguably the main benefit provided by eWallets is speed. Rather than waiting days for bank checks, withdrawals using eWallets reach accounts in minutes.
In addition, once the customer provides their details to an eWallet provider, the heavily secured tech-based system can hold the information, meaning that customers do not need to continually input payment information, and can instead have it held on a convenient and secure system.
For many, the downside to the use of this technology comes via cost. As the eWallet provider is a third party to a transaction, they will often charge either a set account fee on a monthly basis, or charge a set percentage per transaction. As a result, before you sign up with an eWallet provider and a bookmaker, ensure you know the associated costs. However, with HTML payment buttons, reverse testing to counter fraud and multi-currency payment options, many argue that clients get what they pay for and more with these services.
Cryptocurrencies: Using Blockchain to Take Security to the Next Level
Although this form of payment hasn’t been widely adopted by bookmakers as yet, cryptocurrency payments are rapidly on the ascendency. This is because, through the use of advanced blockchain technology, payments made by cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin provide several additional advantages for customers.
A form of public and distributed digital ledger, blockchain technology isn’t overseen by any central authority, such as a bank or a government. As a result, there’s no form of central control, which means that the chance of the currency being manipulated or any of the transactions being modified is significantly decreased.
In addition, by using the blockchain protocol for transactions, users are provided with complete anonymity. When using bitcoin, a user’s account information isn’t shared, meaning no third parties (like bookmakers) have their personal information, such as their bank details or address data. Instead, encrypted payments are made using only a selection of letters and numbers that correspond to a bitcoin payment address.
This is a direct contrast with eWallets, which are still controlled by a central authority (such as PayPal or Skrill, depending on the provider). By removing a third party, not only is extra security provided, but transaction fees are minimized or eliminated entirely. Likewise, transactions are near instantaneous, which is a huge benefit when compared with credit and debit cards, where it can take days for transactions to clear and process.
However, although the tech behind these transactions is undoubtedly brilliant, there are still disadvantages to using bitcoin for transactions with bookmakers, as there are with any young form of payment technology. For example, low transaction volume often leads to large fluctuations in price, which can erode profits. Likewise, although the core of the blockchain is difficult to attack due to the levels of encryption, it remains physically possible with so-called ‘quantum computers’. However, new cryptographic processes have significantly limited this threat.
When compared with the old pen and paper system used by bookies, it’s incredible to measure how far payment security systems have come in such a short space of time, as new options like eWallets and blockchain solutions provide greater security, better anonymity and faster payment times. With America increasingly legalizing sports betting, and the market size increasing as a result, it will be interesting to see what direction the technology goes in next to provide greater security for providers and customers alike.