Sports trading: what it is and how it works

 Sports trading: what it is and how it works

Let’s start immediately with an important clarification: sports trading has nothing to do with  online trading . The latter, in fact, is an intermediary activity for the distance trading of securities or financial contracts, and it is precisely the adjective “financial” that makes a huge difference. 

The activities of this sector, especially if aimed at private users, are regulated and controlled by specifically appointed laws and bodies, both at the European Union level (for example ESMA) and at the Italian level ( CONSOB ,  Bank of Italy , etc. .).


Sports trading, on the other hand, is part of the gaming activities with cash winnings and is subject to different regulations that bring it back to the state monopoly. In fact, the Italian State is the only one that, through the ADM  (Customs and Monopoly Agency, which in 2012 incorporated the AAMS),  can grant a concession  to those who want to offer private users the opportunity to place bets with which it is possible. win or lose money.


Therefore, do not deceive the use of the term “trading” (ie trade, negotiation), because when we talk about “online trading” we are talking only about finance, not about betting. So much so that the law that regulates sports trading (Decree of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of 03/18/2013 n. 47) clearly defines it as ” remote betting at fixed odds with direct interaction between players “, sports and non-sports.

Sports trading and online trading

The fact that in this section an article is made about a not purely financial activity, however, has a reason. And it is that the 2013 legislation introduced a great novelty in the betting sector, applying to it technologies and methods already widely used for online trading. Not only that, but in sports trading, as well as in online trading, it is possible to develop operational and analysis methodologies to optimize the management of the capital flow used. 

Two different sectors, therefore, but with the same way of operating: authorized intermediaries (in this one). As for the risks, even sports trading is obviously extremely risky and to get close to it you need to have strong and consolidated knowledge of the type of sport on which you are going to bet. It is not enough, therefore, to be a fan of a team and have seen some football or basketball games to do sports trading .

Odds and bets

To understand how sports trading works, it is necessary to briefly describe how betting in Italy works (we are obviously referring only to legal services authorized by ADM). It is possible to bet on different sports, but let’s take the example of the most widespread in our country, football. You can bet on the final result, when the match is over, but also  live , that is, during the match, on partial results or on goals scored at a given moment. 

The  bookmaker , or the concessionaire, such as betfair.it, collects the bets of all the players (the supply and demand, or rather how much the players bet on the positive or negative trend of the event) and with them provides odds, which are constantly updated:  share 1 it means that whoever bets 1 can win 1,  odds 2  that whoever bets 1 can win 2, and so on, and the bookmaker pays. Whoever loses, loses what he has bet, a bit like with binary options or with certain types of options, and the bookmaker collects.

How sports trading works

With sports trading, the bookmaker is no longer a direct intermediary but, on an online platform (similar to those used for foreign exchange trading), the odds of a specific event are placed, which change second by second. 

This is why when we talk about sports trading we mean fixed odds bets (on specific levels) between players connected to each other online. 

The “sports trader” can “bet” a quote or “bank” a share. What does it mean? Aiming is simple, it means adhering to a proposal. If the event you want to bet on is the final result of a match, you can bet that a team will win, draw or lose. 

If the team is given as the favorite, the odds will be low because the probability of winning is high, so the risk will be lower, and vice versa. In the example above, if the odds are 1, 5 whoever joins it has the chance to win twice what he has bet. 

In case the team is not favored the odds could be higher – for example 10 – so you will have less chance of winning, but a higher profit if you win. Banking, on the other hand, means taking on an odd as if you were a bookmaker, so if the odd is 2, the winner collects 1 (i.e. what the player who bets 1 wins), in the event of a loss you lose 2 (i.e. what loses whoever bets 1). 

This means that banking high odds (for example, 10 or 20) can lead to the possibility of large losses. it means taking on an odd as if you were a bookmaker, so if the odd is 2, the winner collects 1 (i.e. what the player who bets 1 wins), in the event of a loss he loses 2 (i.e. what the player who bets 1 loses ). 

This means that banking high odds (for example, 10 or 20) can lead to the possibility of large losses. it means taking on an odd as if you were a bookmaker, so if the odd is 2, the winner collects 1 (i.e. what the player who bets 1 wins), in the event of a loss he loses 2 (i.e. what the player who bets 1 loses ). This means that banking high odds (for example, 10 or 20) can lead to the possibility of large losses.

Sports trading strategies

Since it is possible to operate on betting exchange even during (live) matches, some industry experts argue that you can talk about betting when you bet first and wait for the result, but you must talk about trading when trading the odds in real time before the end of the match. However, these are two different strategies and there is no doubt that the second is the one that comes closest to a sort of  intraday online trading .


In fact, you can bet (or lay) a share but shortly afterwards exit the position when you realize that the situation of the match seems to go against our forecasts, or you can simultaneously bet and lay a share for a so-called  green up strategy. (betting on the absence of variations in the score of the match).

John Mac

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