In the online and offline world of sports betting, the numbers are massive, with some of the biggest betting conglomerates having hundreds of thousands of customers around the world. Sports betting makes up about 30 to 40 percent of the global gambling market, which also includes lotteries, casinos, poker and other gaming. It’s estimated that over half a trillion (over €500 million) is wagered in bets around the world annually. In the USA alone, Investment firm Morgan Stanley predicts the betting market will generate almost $7 billion in revenue by 2025, up from $833 million in 2019.
Betting is now active across all sports and newer niches like eSports are the fastest growing both in player participation, viewership and betting. But there have always been the staple few giants that account for most of the global sports betting market, and while figures may vary depending on the country, for the most part these are the most popular sports to bet on:
Soccer is the biggest and most popular sport globally so it makes sense that it’s number 1 on the list globally. Horse racing used to be top of the pile but in play betting and early cash outs has turned betting in football into a monster. It’s estimated that over £1 billion is bet on football every year in the UK. Due to many unregulated markets, it’s impossible to get accurate figures for the global market, but with viewership figures into hundreds of millions for big events, the true figure of betting in football must be enormous.
The only countries where soccer isn’t number one would be in the USA where NFL is king, Australia and NewZealand where rugby rules and in Canada where the national sport of Hockey would top of the betting charts.
This is a sport that has been synonymous with gambling for many years, and for most of history, horse racing was the most popular sport to bet on. It’s still a global giant and one of the only sports you can bet on 24/7 around the world, some of the richest sporting events are horse races, and with big prize money comes big viewership and big punters. Betting in horse racing is estimated to be over €100 billion annually. Surprisingly Japan is the biggest market, followed by the UK, Australia. Racing is a massive industry in the USA and with betting becoming legalised in some states, this could be a sleeping giant.
This is probably a surprise to many, but tennis is the third most popular sport to betting on globally. Live / in play betting started where to could bet on who was going to win a set, now you can bet on who’s going to win a game, this amount of combinations makes tennis a very high frequency betting sport. The draws in tennis also make it an easy low odds bet, for example, in the first few rounds you might have the Federer or Nadal playing an outsider, and given the fact that the big three in tennis have dominated the sport for 20 years, they very rarely loose to an outsider. However live betting has been the major factor in the massive rise in tennis betting.
Golf has been one of the biggest risers in sports betting over the last few. With 78 players playing at any given moment on the course, and ton of betting formats, it’s not hard to see why this is such a popular one with punters. Big events are run across 3 days while majors are 4 days, add this to the amount of players on field and you have so many more opportunities, odds and variable outcomes than there are with other sports.
With online betting in the USA becoming legal, American Football is most likely to be a big sports betting winner. The NFL and it’s climaxing Super Bowl are globally watched and punted on and the betting market can only grow from here.
Rugby Union has been a big riser through the betting charts, with lot’s of new nations rising through the ranks of the game. There are now 30 rugby playing countries around the world with 20 of these qualifying for the 2019 World Cup, which was the biggest rugby event in the history of the game.
Outside the World Cup the Home Nations in the Southern Hemisphere and Six Nations in Europe are the 2 big annually events that people like to take a punt on. Then theres the Super Rugby League, Premiership in England, Top 14 in France and the Champions Cup for the top European teams which all see massive volumes of betting.
In play betting in a game with so many variables made rugby one of the most popular sports to bet on last year.
Boxing / MMA
Boxing is another sport synonymous with betting for many years and while it may have been eclipsed by football, tennis and golf it still a big one. MMA is a relatively new sports but through the history of the UFC, the numbers are getting bigger.
The fastest growing sport and sports market in regards to betting volume is eSports. The increased popularity of eSports is pushing bookmakers to adapt quickly or fall behind. While virtual racing has been around for years, the other virtual sports have exploded in popularity in 2020, with all the major bookmakers offering different eSports match betting This growing volume is rapidly driving revenue generation across the sports betting industry.