The global wagering industry is now worth more than £100 billion – that’s a lot of bets being placed! So, which are the most popular sports that punters are having a flutter on in 2022?
From the Kentucky Derby in America to the Melbourne Cup in Australia, it’s fair to say that horse racing is a sport with a major appeal all over the world. In Europe, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the Epsom Derby are two showpiece occasions in the summer, but it’s the Grand National and the Cheltenham Festival in England that carry most of the betting interest. Indeed, it’s estimated that around £300 million is bet on the former race alone.
That’s why so many punters are interested in observing the latest Grand National odds from the minute the early declarations are made in March and all the way through to race day in April. In 2022, you wonder how many millions will be bet on Minella Times, the defending champion and 16/1 shot with Gold Cup-winning jockey Rachael Blackmore on board.
Using any measure of your choice, it’s undoubtedly the case that football is the most popular sport in many countries in the Western world in particular – and the betting revenue it generates confirms as much.
With competitions throughout the year, football betting is a market that rarely sleeps. Its major competitions draw a staggering number of viewers and punters – the 2018 World Cup final, for example, was watched by a mammoth 1.1 billion people worldwide.
Whether it’s fans wagering on their team – or perhaps the opposition so that they are in a ‘no lose’ situation, to casual punters placing their weekly accumulator, football is arguably the most popular betting sport outside of the United States.
That said, the landscape is rather different in North America. The three main sports for betting on there are basketball, baseball and American football, with the latter in particular drawing plenty of interest from fans and punters alike.
For Super Bowl LVI, which was played back in February, it was reported that $7.6 billion – around £5.8 billion – was wagered on the outcome of the Los Angeles Rams against the Cincinnati Bengals… and that’s just one single game!
Following closely behind American football betting in the hearts of US-based punters is basketball. For context, around $3 billion (£2.3 billion) is wagered annually on the March Madness tournament, which brings together the best college basketball teams from North America.
If you consider that much is wagered on an amateur event, just consider for a moment how many billions of dollars are bet on the NBA each season.
There are plenty of legal betting markets in Asia and Oceania, and those – allied to the popularity of cricket in the Western world – are why this sport features on the list of the most bet upon globally. A staggering £70 million alone was wagered on the final of the Indian Premier League in 2021.
This is a part of a wider schedule that includes a couple of different World Cup formats, the Ashes and domestic T20 competitions and confirms cricket as the fifth sport on the list of the most popular for betting on around the globe.
So, there you have it! Which sport do you feel like having a flutter on?