Mixed martial arts (or MMA) have been around longer than you think. In the early 20th century, Japanese and Brazilian fighters would participate in different inter style competitions to prove who has better skills and can fight the opponent to the ground. However, it wasn’t until the late 1990s and early 2000s that MMA became a worldwide phenomenon and a real industry. Around the same time, online casinos revolutionized the gambling industry forever. Is it a coincidence that these two industries have risen at the same time? Not really, because gambling and MMA simply go hand in hand.
Nowadays, punters from all over the world bet on MMA. It is a category that every reputable sportsbook will add. Even many of CasinoHEX.in’ listed top sites to play live casino games have also a function of betting, including MMA betting. But how did this weird, yet so profitable combination came to be?
MMA – from Obscure Betting Category to a Must-Have
While betting on football, basketball, tennis, and other mainstream sports can be fun, real punters are always on the look for the next big thing. In the early 2000s, it was MMA. MMA, as a full-contact combat sport, was something unique, a bit dangerous, extremely engaging and attractive to watch, but even more exciting to bet on.
Also, the online gambling industry was always well known as open-minded, liberal and approachable, especially when compared to other industries that try to steer away from any activity that could have negative connotations. And while in 1997, the state of New York banned MMA on the grounds that it was “animalistic” and described it as “human cockfighting”, gambling industry had a completely different approach. Around the same time, Las Vegas became the home of many MMA associations. Fights became a part of the city’s tourist offer, and considering how entry tickets were not as expensive as for most popular heavyweight fights, MMA started building a reputation thanks to the gambling industry that remained one of its main patrons.
Of course, the reason why casino venues across Sin City embraced MMA is not that they didn’t have anything better to do. This decision was pure business – gamblers love to bet, and the more sports you offer, the better. The same premise was then transferred from traditional casino venues to online casino establishments. Next to classic categories like horse and dog racing, and evergreens like football and basketball, MMA found its place as a category that is new, somewhat obscure, but exciting nonetheless. Nowadays, MMA is an essential category on every betting website that wants to keep a good reputation.
The Future of MMA and Online Gambling
Despite all the difficulties, the online gambling industry and the MMA proved they are here to stay. After all, sports and betting have always been two sides of the same coin. It is expected that their relationship will only grow in the future, as there are new markets to be discovered for both online casinos and MMA.
The relationship between MMA fighters and casino establishments is strong, as well. For example, Conor McGregor, undoubtedly the biggest MMA star today, used to be sponsored by bookmaker Betsafe. Anderson “The Spider” Silva used to promote different betting sites on his social media before he became popular. Considering how it is expected that the online casino industry will surpass $123 billion by 2026, and become one of the most lucrative industries in the world, and MMA is often referred to as the fastest growing sport in history, we can only wait and see new sponsorships and collaborations.
The future of MMA and online gambling, unfortunately, won’t be affected exclusively by the rapid growth of both sides, but the regulatory framework as well. Sports betting is in many countries still highly unregulated. One of the main markets for every industry in the world is the United States, but the way they manage online betting and sports betting, in general, is not very friendly towards the punters or gambling industry in general. Online sports betting is not legal at the moment, and is sports betting is restricted to certain events and areas, like sports matches in Las Vegas. On the other hand, markets like India and China are only opening to online casinos and it is a matter of time when the MMA and online casino industry will take over Asian betting tickets.