Football betting at the time of the VARFebruary 8, 2020
Football is known to be a million dollar business. In competitions such as the Champions League and the national championships, the participating clubs earn tons of money. Accordingly, a single wrong decision by the referee can have far-reaching consequences. If, for example, he gives a penalty in a situation where there was no foul, a team may go out of the game unjustifiably as the winner. For this reason, the world association FIFA has been considering the idea of introducing the video referee (VAR) in football since the early 2010s. In the meantime, it has become standard in the most important competitions and ensures that every game is fair. However, the use of the video referee has an impact on various areas of football – for example on sports betting.
A conference on football betting
The Betting on Football conference took place in London from March 19 to 22, 2019 instead of. For the sixth time, decision-makers from the world of sports betting as well as representatives from teams, leagues and the media met to discuss the issues that affect the betting industry. Around 2,000 high-ranking employees from more than 40 countries were present at Stamford Bridge, the Chelsea FC stadium, and 200 experts gave lectures. The agenda included items such as the individualization of the betting experience, the role of betting providers as sponsors and the challenges that sport brings with it. The latter also included the changes associated with the use of the video referee. Because even if the game is fundamentally fairer through the VAR, it makes some aspects of live betting more complicated.
At the conference, Joe Petyt, Head of In-Play Football at Sky Bet, gave a talk on the subject. In it, he addressed an important point: the uncertainty as to whether a decision by the referee would stand up to a subsequent review. When the video referee did not yet exist in football, the referee decided within a few seconds whether a goal was valid. In some cases, the VAR delays this decision by several minutes, because in case of doubt, the referee still sees the moving images on a monitor.
Live betting and the video referee
If a person who has placed a bet on the game decides to trigger a cash-out in these minutes of uncertainty, it will upset the whole system. Cash-out means the option to “sell” your bet to the provider. The rate at which this happens depends on the course of the game and the expected result. While the referee is checking that a goal is compliant, the betting provider is in a dilemma.
For him, the question arises: which intermediate level is relevant for the cash-out ratio? The one in which the goal is valid or the one in which the goal is not given? If the wrong result applies from the perspective of the betting person, frustration can quickly arise. And not only betting providers, but also one or two casinos online Offering soccer betting could have a negative impact on business. In his lecture, Petyt therefore advocates pausing all live bets until the referee has made a final decision. Since it is relatively rare for the referee to check a game situation afterwards, Petyt hardly sees any potential for disgruntled betting participants.
A brief history of the VAR
In the early 2010s, FIFA began to test the video referee in soccer. In the 2012/2013 season, the games of the Dutch Eredivisie were watched for the first time by video referees without them being in contact with the referees on the field. In the Dutch Cup in 2016/2017, tests were carried out under real conditions.
In September 2016, a referee corrected his decision for the first time after receiving a message from the video referee. In the match between Ajax Amsterdam and Willem II Tilburg, the referee Pol van Boekel had shown a player a yellow card for a foul. After looking at the scene again, he changed his decision and put the player off the pitch.
The video referee has been used in the German Bundesliga since the 2017/2018 season and is supposed to help the referee with four types of decisions. He should check whether a goal was scored in accordance with the rules, whether a penalty or a red card is justified and whether the right player was shown a card. At the same time as the Bundesliga, the Italian Serie A also introduced the video referee. In March 2018, the VAR was included in the football regulations by the International Football Association Board, and it was also used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
At the beginning of the 2018/2019 season, it was introduced in the Spanish Premiera División, with the introduction in the English Premier League is expected from 2019/2020. The European football association UEFA also announced in September 2018 that want to use the video referee in the Champions League from summer 2019. A few weeks later, the introduction was brought forward, so the VAR was used for the first time in the round of 16 of the 2018/2019 Champions League season.