The relationship between VAR and in-play betting

The relationship between VAR and in-play betting

Friday, January 26, 2018 Posted by Joseph Streeter
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Could football's latest technology hamper the rise of in-play betting?

It was confirmed this week that Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will be utilised at this summer’s World Cup. and it appears increasingly that the use of VAR will subsequently become an ever-present in football.

What is yet to be answered, however, is what impact VAR will have on the rise of in-play betting. Whilst the integration process has been challenging, especially when it comes to the English game, the levels of which it has slowed the game down have been relatively minimal.

Suren Khachatryan, CEO of Digitain, told TotallyGaming.com: “Goal-line technology has already been a success in football, and I think that any further development like VAR which ramps up the drama and talking points in a game can only heighten the appeal of in-play betting, in which Digitain’s flexible platform specialises.

"After all, user-engagement is the challenge for any gaming product. So even if VAR occasionally slows down a game, or brings outcomes that are controversial, it all adds to the general interest and connection people have with a match. In short, the challenge for the review system is to become part of the entertainment, not an obstacle to it.”

Addressing whether VAR could hamper the exponential rise of in-play betting, Khachatryan continued: “In no way that I can foresee. After all, there are already natural breaks in the course of the most popular in-play sports (e.g. tennis, football, cricket and NFL) - be they for injury, recuperation, reconfiguration, play review, or more prosaically quieter periods of less consequential action. It also provides an opportunity for players to assess their in-play positions and thoughts before making their next betting move.”

Furthemore, Khachatryan speculated whether operators could offer markets on how often VAR is utilised. He said: “Obviously, the turnaround time for odds being offered by operators would need to be very rapid, if this is to be workable. Some reviews understandably take longer to process than others, and the tendency in other sports (e.g. NFL, rugby, cricket) is for the operator to suspend the market during such periods of refereeing assessment.

"The most relatable and responsive timeframe I can think of is on horse-racing photo finishes, but that’s only an exchange-based model. Further, as we’ve seen, VAR decisions will still hinge on inherent VAR subjectivity, which perhaps makes them less appealing as a betting proposition.”

Totally Gaming says: Given the impact that VAR has had on football and how important speed is with in-play betting, it’s inevitable that something that changes the pace of the game will impact in-play markets. However, it's hard not to imagine the added element of drama working in the favour of operators.

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