Betting can take on multiple shapes and forms. It doesn’t even have to be sports – people are going to bet on the craziest things, including Oscar winners, Super Bowl coin toss results, and so on. It isn’t uncommon for people to constantly be on the lookout for promotions and bonuses online, like the Unibet Bonus, in order to enhance their experience. So, here’s a controversial question: why can’t we bet on running?
As sad as it is to hear, track events like running are simply not popular enough for the people of the world to bet on. Granted, there are a few places in Europe that allow betting on marathon races, but that is as far as this thing goes. Even places like Vegas are not likely to accept a bet as there is not enough public interest in the event for the bet in question to be profitable.
Unlike, say, football, basketball, cricket, and other team sports, running is often a matter of personal challenge and national representation, rather than a business venture. Ask yourself how many basketball players you can list. Now do the same for soccer, football, and tennis. Finally, how many runners do you know, regardless of the discipline?
At the moment, running events don’t hold the same appeal to the general public as cups and championships of other sports.
Granted, the last few sentences might sound a bit far-fetched. Consider this, though – Google searches related to betting on running yield very few results. You are, instead, met with in-play tips, horse racing, NASCAR, F1, and other types of racing. No sign of Michelle Jenneke or Usain Bolt.
The Chicken and the Egg
As a side-note, it is possible that the correlation between popularity and betting works both ways. As in, some sports are popular because people are betting on them, while others attracted betting because they were already popular. Interestingly enough, running was a popular form of entertainment people could bet on in the 17th and 18th centuries. However, since the 19th century, track and field have slowly started moving away from entertainment and towards the pure sport.
A valid argument would be to point out that most of the world bets on the dog and horse races, so why would running be any different? The truth is that the integrity of the sport might suffer from it being open to the global betting market. In team running it would become relatively easy to take a dive or to make an unlikely team member beat the rest.
Alternatively, it may provide a much more aggressive competition. Running, from a 100m dash to a marathon, is generally a quiet and non-confrontational sport. There is nothing to be gained from an altercation with your opponent. You can only lose valuable time and energy. If someone were to bet on races, however, it is likely there would be far more injuries and fights.
Perhaps it is good that there isn’t a large betting market for running. It would not be about sport or personal records anymore. It would be tainted with money, corruption, and aggression.
The long and the short of it is that there are a handful of places in Europe willing to accept a bet on running. Runners are athletes and not entertainers. They push their bodies to the limit to make themselves, their clubs, and their countries proud. Furthermore, with relatively low media coverage, running is simply not popular enough to have profitable bets. However, nothing is stopping you from having an unofficial wager with a friend.