Sports betting is a billion-pound industry which has exploded in the past decade, and it continues to grow in revenue and in popularity each year. You can bet on almost every sport imaginable whether it be amateur Polish Ice Hockey, or Gambian Premier League football… If it’s a sport, then there’s probably a market for you to bet on it. It’s very much a modern pastime, and something that’s popular with the younger adults, especially the online aspect of it. So, let’s take a look at the current trends in sports betting, and what the most popular sports and bet types are.
Sports Betting Recent History
Globally, the most popular sport to bet on is football, or soccer. Sports betting generates between $700 billion to a trillion dollars each and every year, and around 70% of this capital comes from football (soccer) bets. Most bookmakers are heavily promoting mobile betting and they see football as their priority market. You can bet on pretty much every aspect of a football match, from the winner of the match to the first goal scorer, to the number of throw-ins and the last corner. Being the most played and most watched sport globally though, it comes as no surprise that football is the most betted on sport – the 2018 World Cup in Russia took over $260 million in bets around the world.
The next most popular sport to bet on is American football. The NFL is the most watched sport in the US and its popularity is expanding outside of North America. The Super Bowl is a popular watch in the UK and last year took $158.6 million in bets, which was $20 million more than the 2017 Super Bowl and a new record.
Aside from soccer and football, horse racing is the next big thing to bet on. America has the Kentucky Derby, and the UK the Grand National. Both races are an annual event and last year, the two races took a combined half a billion dollars in bets. It’s an astronomical figure, with the Grand National taking the brunt of that amount. But sports betting started with racing, and it continues to be a facet of sports betting today.
Types of Bets
In racing, betting hasn’t really changed at all. Aside from win and each-way bets, and placepots and quadpots etc, a lot of bookmakers offer specials on horse racing. These could be for a certain horse to win by over a certain length, and a certain nationality or colour horse to win the Grand National for example.
Where betting has really changed is in sports, mainly in football (soccer). There is no end of markets to bet on in football, and these markets have evolved from the world of online and mobile betting. Before, bookmakers had to fit all their markets for a match or a league’s fixtures on a single piece of paper, but now online bookmakers can offer as many as there app will allow them to. As mentioned before, you can bet on things like the number of throw-ins or corners in a game, a half or a certain time period of the game. There’s also a large market for betting on goal scorers, be it the first, the last, or one to score at any time of the match.
A new aspect of betting which is exclusive to the likes of Bet365 and Sky Bet, is ‘building’ your own bets. In Bet365’s ‘bet builder’, you can add as many bets for a certain game, like number of corners, first goal scorer, both teams to score or not, and effectively build your own accumulator for a single match. This is a popular bet with many people, and those that use it tend to build a bet for a certain game that they can watch and keep track of their bet.
In-play betting is another new facet of sports betting, and is again a more football-orientated aspect of betting pioneered by Bet365. Whilst you can bet on a lot of sports in-play now, and with many different bookmakers, Bet365 effectively created the in-play betting scene. Again, you can bet on hundreds of in-play markets which are often the markets you can bet on before a game, but the idea with in-play is that, when you’re watching the game, you can bet on certain things depending on where you think the game is heading. So, for example, you’re watching Manchester City against Manchester United, and City are in possession, you have the in-play markets readied on your phone and have a bet for Sergio Aguero to be the next scorer ready to place. You see Aguero making a darting run into the box and you place your bet in a flash… Next thing you know, Aguero puts City in the lead and you’ve bagged yourself a win. It’s easy and can be fun.
Who knows how betting will shape up in the future? Bet365 and Sky Bet are the front-runners in online betting and in developing new markets to bet on. Maybe they’ll focus on improving their in-play game, or on bolstering their bet-building format, or maybe they’ll come up with another new feature which will grab people’s attention and money.