Sports betting is more popular than ever in the UK. Bookies are allowing punters to bet in their high streets, online, and on their mobiles. In such an intense market of activity millions of pounds can exchange hands daily across a range of sports. Here, we take a look at the most popular sports with punters up and down the country.
There is only one place to start when it comes to the most popular market in UK sports betting, and that is the country's number one sport of football. Millions of fans travel to support their team every week. Even more catch the action on television. Out of those fans, there are many who love to dabble in a few bets on the football. The weekly football acca has become a cultural reference point. Pre-game chat about who will be the first goalscorer dominates pub discussion. Post-game analysis over where bets went right or wrong are now commonplace. Both domestically and globally, betting and sports is one thing, but betting and football have become synonymous.
The 2017 FA Cup final averaged 7.9 million viewers. This shows the strength in popularity of the game on the domestic front alone. The Champions League final is anticipated to draw an audience of more than half a billion viewers. Throw into the mix that punters can access thousands of markets across hundreds of leagues 24 hours a day and seven days a week, it is easy to see why football betting leads the way in the sports betting industry.
It might come as a bit of a shock to anyone reading this that isn't a fan of tennis but the sport has grown to become the second most popular sport bet on by UK punters. The sport generates billions of pounds of revenue in betting every year. Not bad for a sport that rarely hits the headlines outside of the four major tournaments of Wimbledon, the US Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open.
The dawn of live betting has played a key role in the rise of tennis betting. The fact punters can bet on each individual set at the touch of a button has widened its appeal. It is also a sport that is reasonably predictable compared to other sports. The likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray have dominated the men's game for a long time. Serena Williams has been the queen of the women's game for well over a decade as well. The sport is ripe for profit and UK punters have tapped into this.
The sport of kings once ruled the land but the wider availability of football and tennis markets along with in-play and cash out betting options has seen the classic horse racing betting slip down the priority list of punters in the UK. £150 million was bet by punters on the 2017 Cheltenham Festival alone. It's a massive market with the big events such as the Grand National, Royal Ascot, and Epsom Derby still drawing big wagers but in terms of daily and weekly betting the interest is waning with the new generation of punters.
It is hard to split the US sports into individual markets because punters usually place acca bets that throw in wagers covering all types of sports Stateside, such as American football (NFL), basketball (NBA), ice hockey (NHL), and baseball (MLB). Although a debatable topic, bookmakers are becoming more aware of the increasing popularity of US sports with UK punters so focus their promotions around such markets.
Best of the Rest
A number of other sports are still appealing to UK punters. Cricket, golf, rugby union, rugby league, GAA, greyhound racing, boxing, UFC, and even WWE are becoming big business with bookies now. Punters want variety and choice. The bookies are willing to offer it. The next 10 years are set to be very interesting and could show a number of sports challenging the big guns for the top spot with UK punters.