I like to place the odd sports bet. In New Zealand I have no official option but to do this through the TAB, which is a state-sanctioned monopoly.
In other countries there are often many competing institutions offering odds on various events, including sports. In fact, there are now many companies that operate across borders in many countries, such as BetFair and Bet365.*
The lack of competition in the betting market in New Zealand stifles innovation in the betting options they offer. One recent pundit proclaimed the TAB “the most conservative betting agency in the world”. Essentially the TAB has no incentive to innovate, as they know punters have limited ability to legally gamble through other avenues.
The TAB have started opening more interesting books on the FIFA World Cup, such as whether Lionel Messi will score more goals during the campaign than the All Whites combined (Messi the hot favourite at $1.55!).
If the gambling market were officially opened up to competition I suspect we would see a lot more of this innovation.
*I’m not sure of the legal status of these organisations in New Zealand, although I understand it is possible to open accounts with them (legally or otherwise).