USA TODAY Sports.
- With one year gone since PASPA's repeal, sports betting has already begun to change.
- Stuckey imagines how it might look in another 30 years as the sports betting market and world itself changes around us.
With the one year anniversary of the PASPA repeal having arrived, we here at The Action Network have reflected on the year that was.
We have talked about what happened, what we’ve learned and what’s next. Well, I decided to celebrate this important date in the sports betting world with a fun and completely speculative thought experiment: What will the day in the life of a sports bettor look like in the year 2050?
2050 is only a little over 30 years away. And it’s fascinating to ponder what our world may look like by that time. Even if Moore’s Law doesn’t hold exactly true, the rapid speed of technological progress makes it impossible for our human brains to fathom the possibilities even just a few decades from now.
Will we have an energy breakthrough in fusion? What will our transportation system look like? How will currency evolve? The possibilities in the medical field are endless. I could go on and on as many much smarter minds in those particular field have and will continue to do.
My two primary areas of expertise are the betting and financial markets. With sports betting becoming legal in more states with each passing day, the parallels with the financial markets are easy to see. Similar to the early days of the stock market, we have a long way to go in the sports betting marketplace. Technology will obviously play a critical role in that evolution.
I wanted to get stakeholders in this booming industry to think about the more distant future — not only to facilitate an entertaining discussion but to also spark potential innovation. Instead of writing an essay that may bore most of you, I decided to focus in on the day in the life of a fictional character in the year 2050.
Meet Aldous T. Stakes — an executive in NYC at a top sports betting hedge fund in 2050. Aldous (Al as he’s known to most) was born in 2010 and started betting on sports in high school.
Al eventually made his way to Georgetown to study finance with a minor in sports betting. He actually dabbled as a bookie during his freshman year of college. Despite full legalization in 49 of 50 states (sorry Utah), illegal bookmaking still exists for those that need to bet on credit and/or want to bet off the grid.
Although profitable, Al hated the headaches and gave up that gig after just one year. Instead, he continued to refine his personal betting models.
His first job out of college came as a technical analyst working for a betting advisor. There were still inefficiencies in the sports betting market, but edges were becoming harder to find. Similar to the many active managers on Wall Street that survive despite rarely beating the market long term, this industry was booming in the 2030’s. Advisors relied on short-term variance and aggressive marketing to secure new business.
However, that changed with time as regulation tightened and the market grew more efficient. The days of mispriced stock options or betting arbitrage opportunities at different shops were long gone.
Al wanted to eventually work for a sports betting hedge fund — which took investments from legitimate businesses lured by a new asset class with zero correlation with the equity or fixed income markets.
Well, Al got that opportunity with a firm called Edward Stones in 2038 and has been with the firm ever since. Here is what Al’s typical day might look like:
Day in the Life
7 a.m. Wake Up
Al wakes up at 7 on the dot in his temperature controlled bed on the 500th floor of his NYC apartment. He didn’t need an alarm clock thanks to a brain-cloud interface controlled by neural nanobots that are programmed to wake him up each morning. He then checks his sleep performance and vitals — all seen through contact lenses connected to that network.
7:15 a.m. Work Out
After glancing at the top news stories of the day and browsing work messages through those same lenses, Al heads into the next room for his morning work out with Jim — his 3-D virtual personal trainer. His “smart” clothes are also connected to his brain cloud-interface, which allows him to monitor his vitals and progress throughout.
8 a.m. Breakfast
After setting his omelet preferences on his 3-D food printing machine, he takes a water-less shower and changes into fresh smart clothes. He turns his line notifications on to see any real-time quarter-cent movements through his lenses. Al then meets three friends at a cafe to talk lines. He does this virtually while sitting at his kitchen table eating a western omelette.
8:30 a.m. BAN Time
Al heads into his main room and sets his room decoration preferences using an augmented reality program. He then projects BAN onto his wall so he can get his daily dose of the 24-hour channel dedicated to the sports betting market.
9 a.m. Place Wagers
Al virtually reconciles his advanced personal models with all bets being offered on the global peer-to-peer betting exchange. Nothing sticks out but he decides to make a market on a specific e-sports player prop (the most bet on sport in the world in 2050) that will start in a few minutes.
He is immediately matched (no surprise in a now extremely liquid market) and throws that stream up on another section of his wall.
9:30 a.m. Conference Call
In his current role, Al spends a lot of time learning about new potential leagues. Over the past decade, a new league for people to bet on (whether played by real people or virtually) would pop up almost weekly. The big hedge funds could make large profits in the infancy of a new league — before the new market inevitably became uber-efficient.
This particular call was about a virtual celebrity tennis league.
10:30 a.m. Regulator Meeting
By the year 2050, the betting markets are heavily regulated by the Betting Exchange Commission. With thousands of leagues to bet on and extremely efficient markets, there have been plenty of scandals of people trying to get inside information and/or influence the outcome of events.
This so called “black edge” is highly sought after in a very efficient sports betting market that doesn’t have the benefit of naturally rising value over time like the stock market. Betting is a zero-sum game.
Fortunately for Al, this was just a standard quarterly meeting to review required reporting.
11:30 a.m. Walk Dog
One thing that hasn’t changed in 2050: man’s best friend.
One of Al’s favorite recent innovations occurred in pet tech. People now have the ability to understand what their dogs are thinking through a bark translator. Scientists remain stumped on the cat version.
12 p.m. Eat Lunch
Al eats lunch in the form of a pill that has all of the ideal nutrients for a meal.
12:01 p.m. NFL Trading Room
Al virtually visits the company trading floor to monitor their live betting NFL traders. The NFL (now a 50 team league across seven countries) still plays its regular season as we know it today but also has 25 simulated weekly seasons during the offseason. From Game 1 to the Super Bowl in the span of a mere seven days.
On almost any date on the calendar, one can bet on some type of NFL action. The live player prop market is their specialty.
2 p.m. Derivatives Report
Al will sit through the weekly update on the company’s derivatives positions and strategy. One of the most exciting developments in the sports betting market has been in the derivatives space. There are options, swaps, forward and futures — which allow leverage and require margin calls just like you see in the financial market. Bet a future at 120-1 that is now 50-1 — you may be due some money based on how much time has passed and which type of contract you entered.
3 p.m. Afternoon Vacation
There are no vacation days but every employee is required to take a daily one-hour vacation through a virtual travel program paid for by the firm as a company perk. Al chooses to sit on a beach in Bali today.
4 p.m. Visit Mom
Al decides to go visit his mother in Philadelphia. Even though he spends most of his time in his apartment connecting with people virtually, his mom still insists on in-person meetings. Despite living in New York, he can get to Philadelphia in three minutes on a train that travels 1,800 mph.
4:30 p.m. Golf With Client
Al decides to talk business in Philly with a client over a quick nine holes. They not only wager each other on who will win, they decide to set a personal market for their match. This will notify any of their pre-approved friends in their personal networks who could potentially bet on either (live odds as well). If a friend has their bet matched, he or she can watch the action virtually.
Al also decides to have a few drinks. He knows he can constantly monitor his blood alcohol content through his lenses to ensure he doesn’t get too tipsy with an important client. Those lenses also allow him to know the exact distance to the pin at all times while recommending the most ideal club and approach.
6:50 p.m. Dinner Time
After taking the train back to New York, Al walks into a fully prepared steak dinner he programmed into his 3-D food printer while on the train. His fleet of nanny robots cleaned while he was out.
7 p.m. MLB Live Betting
Al used to make a killing on betting whether the next pitch will be a strike or a ball, but there isn’t any real edge in that market left. Still, it’s an activity he enjoys as there is a certain nostalgia attached.
There is a countdown clock before each pitch with the live odds available to him integrated right on the broadcast. Al can almost instantaneously place and confirm a wager through his brain-cloud interface without saying a word or moving his hands.
9 p.m. Drinks With Friends
Al then finishes up his night by virtually meeting some friends at the local watering hole. He orders a martini while drinking a water alone on his couch and watching BetZone — the 24-hour network with various hosts that flip between all sporting events at critical moments for bettors.
There is also a 1-on-1 basketball game between two pros — one of whom is the son of Zion Williamson — that Al will have his eye on for live wagering opportunities.
11 p.m. Bed Time
Al sets his network preferences to wake him up if a certain rugby line moves in a certain direction by a specified threshold. He also sets his dream machine to a cruise in Iceland. Al then switches into sleep mode and immediately dozes off.
There are obviously no right or wrong answers about what 2050 will look like so I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts. To me, this type of world that we seem destined for sounds very lonely.
Then again, if you gave someone a time machine 30 years ago, they might say the same exact thing about how we live today.