Having a flutter: is football the most bet on sport in the UK?

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To offer up some kind of context on just how popular sports betting in the UK is, approximately £2bn is wagered by punters online every year on these shores. This figure doesn’t even take into consideration betting shop and racecourse revenue.

It goes to show that Brits still love a bet…but is football still the king when it comes to betting? It’s hard to deny that the beautiful game is the most popular in the UK, with TV viewing figures confirming this, while sites like remain popular as fans track down the latest news and transfer rumours.

However, horse racing is a sport designed for betting, so could the gee-gees have usurped football at the top of the betting spending charts?

1 – Football

It’s true that horse racing used to be the most bet-upon sport in the UK, but the advent of online betting has led to football jumping into top spot.

In Great Britain alone, approximately £1bn is wagered on this game each season, with a decent chunk of that being wagered in-play — another modern innovation that has fuelled the appetite for football betting.

The most watched and the most played sport in the UK, it almost stands to reason that football is the most bet on too.

2 – Horse racing

If this rundown had been written 20 years ago, then horse racing would have been the clear winner.

The most popular sport to wager on in betting shops, there is also a decent turnover of bets placed live at racecourses too via the on-track bookmakers. Before online and mobile betting became so readily available, this was the ‘go to’ for having a flutter.

However, the goalposts have moved, if you’ll pardon the pun. While the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National remain popular with punters — the 2021 edition of the Aintree showpiece set an online record for bets taken, the sport as a whole has slipped behind football in the reckoning.

3 – Tennis

With a number of different global tours taking place and with matches played every day, it’s little wonder that there is a strong appetite for betting on tennis.

The countries of the UK are not exactly known for their tennis prowess, but Scotland’s Andy Murray has been a key figure on the ATP Tour for a number of years, and the emergence of Emma Raducanu might just help to attract a whole new audience.

As far as tennis betting is concerned, roughly 6% of all bets placed in the UK are on tennis matches!

4 – American sports

When we combine the betting appeal of American football and basketball, together they take the sports that are so popular stateside into fourth place in the UK too.

With NBA games shown live on Sky Sports, and the NFL’s International Series game at Wembley Stadium attended by more than 80,000 people, there is a clear appetite for these pursuits and that is being increasingly reflected in the amounts wagered on them by Brit bettors.

Written by Balachandran B

Co-founder & Head of Operations @ SoccerSouls Sports Network. Nick Name: Jin. Favorite Sports team: Arsenal
Follow me @Jin

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