Is VAR Ruining the Game? How New Technology Has Slashed Sportsbook and Casino Odds

Although VAR (Video Assistant Refereeing) has plenty of critics, after its use in the World Cup last year, it’s almost certain that the new technology will become a stable fixture in football.

Whilst many argue that VAR is ruining the football as it slows the game down and takes away authority from the on-pitch referees, little has been said about how VAR will impact sports betting yet.

In this article, we look at all the ways in which VAR has actually affected casino odds – both positively and negatively.

How Does VAR Affect In Play Betting?

In play betting is a relatively recent revelation yet in play markets have become some of the most popular at online sportsbooks and casinos.

However, as VAR does delay refereeing decisions, it could be likely that it will impact in-play wagers. In-play wagers work due to the fast-paced and spontaneous nature of football. You can place a bet and win within minutes, yet with VAR, these markets are sure to be less volatile and less rewarding.

We spoke to Richard, a sports betting expert over at GoWin, about how sportsbook operators should deal with the new technology:

‘In order for in-play betting to survive, operators need to lean in to VAR. As VAR is likely to put punters of placing in-play bets, bookmakers need to offer better odds and even VAR-based in-play markets, such as ‘will this decision go to VAR’ or ‘will player X call for VAR’.’

VAR’s Impact on Card and Offside Markets

As well as in-play markets, VAR could also have an effect on other areas of football betting, such as card markets and offside markets. This is because VAR will almost definitely affect the number of cards shown in a match as well as making off-side verdicts easier to call.

Currently, VAR is only used for red cards, yet in huge matches we could soon see it being used for yellow cards too. In this instance, it’s likely that VAR will actually increase the number of cards shown in a match. This would affect the card markets as, usually, red cards are quite rare and so the market is very valuable.

In a similar vein, offside markets could be affected by VAR as VAR will leave no room for error when a decision like this needs to be called. This, therefore, would increase the number of off-side calls in any one match, and therefore slash the odds on the market. 

Possible New VAR Markets

It seems like the only way to stop VAR from running sports betting is to embrace the new technology. By accepting that VAR is here to stay, both punters and bookies could actually benefit as there’s a whole host of new markets which could be created.

Firstly, operators should create simple pre-match VAR-focussed markets. These could include:

  • Will VAR Be Used in the Match?
  • Will A Certain Player Call for VAR?
  • Will A Certain Player Receive a Red Card after a VAR decision?
  • Total Number of VAR Decisions in the Match
  • Time of First Call for VAR

After this, once both UEFA and bookmakers have got more of an idea as to how VAR will be used, they could introduce more detailed, in-play, options too, such as ‘which way will this VAR decision go?, ‘will Player X receive a red card after this VAR decision’ and so on.

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