A couple of weeks ago, when I was reporting this essay on how the world bets the World Cup for ESPN The Magazine, I spoke to a guy named Kevin McCrystle. He's one of the founders of WSN.com, a sports betting website completely dedicated to soccer.
Kevin came by his interest in gambling honestly, through a fantasy obsession. He was always working numbers and angles and stats. When he graduated from North Carolina a few years ago, a buddy suggested they move to China, a growing gambling empire, and start a soccer betting info website using the same stats-based philosophy Kevin applied to his fantasy endeavors. Unsure what to do with his life and a big fan of soccer, Kevin said sure. "The biggest bookmakers in the world are based in Asia," Kevin says. "A lot of the action is underground, but it's estimated that 90 percent of the betting market there is on soccer, so it's a multibillion-dollar business."