From reindeer racing to chess boxing, VSO News has listed the weird and wonderful sports that sportsbooks should offer betting on. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Betfred and DraftKings have just announced that they will offer odds on the the World Putting League (WPL) Championship 2023. This event pits the best mini golf players against each other over 18 putter-focused holes.
there are plenty of interesting sports that bookmakers overlook
Although mini golf has now made the cut for these sportsbooks, there are plenty of interesting sports that bookmakers overlook for betting purposes. This is typically either because the games lack a significant audience or the bookies are unable to think that far outside the box. Sometimes it’s because the sport is just plain weird.
As the oddsmakers at Betfred and DraftKings assess the competition for the WPL Championship, here are four other sports from outside the mainstream that we think deserve a proper betting market.
Of all the games on this list, Go is by far the most suitable for widespread betting. It already has an official body in the US, an internationally recognized seeding system, and regular annual events across the globe.
The game is played with a nineteen by nineteen board on which players take turns to place stones, trying to stake out the largest area of the board:
In Japan, China, and Korea there are full time schools to train players and enough funding for the best of them to go pro. Events are often live streamed online and the prize pools can hit six-figures.
there is very little legal betting on go
However, despite its popularity in Japan, China, and Korea there is very little legal betting on Go—gambling is, after all, mostly illegal in those nations. We think Go is due a more serious look by the sports betting world.
Popular in Scandinavia, reindeer racing pits teams of reindeer against one another with either sleds or skiers in tow:
This sport in particular wouldn’t take much work to bring to the US. Neighboring Canada is home to six species of reindeer. The US has plenty of snowy peaks for cross country races and thanks to the NHL and Winter Olympics, you can find cooled athletic stadiums all across the nation.
In the interim, sports betting sites might want to set up a market in time for the next World Reindeer Racing Championships in Trømso, Norway in February 2024..
Curling is more or less bowls on ice. This team game sees players try to skim a large stone puck across ice and bring it to a stop near a marker. One player pushes and the other guides the puck by sweeping the ice to rough parts of the surface:
This is a classic winter sport and you can usually put some money down on a curler when the olympics are on. However, three out of four years go by without sportsbooks giving this game a second-look.
There are more curling events in a year than NBA games
In non-Olympic years, the World Curling League lists a dozen or so annual internationals, and plenty of other nations across the northern hemisphere offer their own national leagues. All in all, there are more curling events in a year than NBA games, so plenty to bet on.
Chess boxing is an old sport that goes through phases in which public curiosity lands on it. The sports sees two players duke it out in alternating rounds of boxing and chess. Players can win by KO or check-mate, or by boxing points in the case of a draw:
Right now, chess boxing is undergoing one of its publicity bubbles. The post-Queen’s Gambit chess-boom has lost some of its momentum. In response, the industry of chess streamers that sprouted up in the wake of the Netflix show has turned to chess boxing as a way to appeal to new audiences.
disproportionately large audiences
Because many of the competitors at the moment are influencers—like Andrea Botez and Ludwig—many of these events also have disproportionately large audiences. So now is the perfect time to try and get the betting public involved.