Sports Betting

Sports betting is constantly increasing in popularity, with ways in which people can bet always growing.

There are approximately 9,000 betting shops in the UK and more than 500 online bookmakers. Several of these bookmakers also have mobile apps for phones and other devices, making it easier to place a bet on the move.

Sports Betting and Football

It’s estimated that online sports betting is worth over £650 million, with over two million customers, and is growing every year.

Football is without doubt the market leader when it comes to sports betting. The Saturday afternoon accumulator has even become part of culture for some people.

What makes football so popular is the fact there are markets available on literally hundreds of leagues across the world at all hours of the day. In-Play, Cash-Out, and live streaming options also make it extremely entertaining.

However, football isn’t the only sport people bet on. Here, we look at a few other sports which are popular among punters.

Horse Racing

Horse racing led the way in sports betting but has been overtaken by football in terms of popularity.

Some people still enjoy their daily trip to the bookies to place a ‘Lucky 15’ or other multiple bet, but new punters aren’t drawn to horse racing the way they are to other sports. Lack of in-play opportunities is probably the main reason for this.

Big meetings, and races, such as the Cheltenham Festival, Grand National, and Royal Ascot are still hugely popular among punters. However, it’s the regular daily punter numbers which are decreasing.

Off-course betting revenue has fallen by several percent in recent years, with the casual gambler risking their money on sports which provide more entertaining markets and more options.


In the last decade, tennis has become one of the most popular sports to bet on in the United Kingdom. Part of the reason for this is the growth of in-play betting.

The number of markets available has increased, with Bet365 offering 13 separate markets on each of the recent Wimbledon men’s semi-finals.

Punters could bet on match result, set betting (akin to correct score), who would win the first set, how many games there would be in the first set, if there would be a tie-break, and several other options.

Once the matches started, the markets available increased to the point where people could bet on who would win the next point.

Another reason for tennis’ rise in popularity among punters is the potential to gain a profit. Whilst there are occasional surprise results, or injury withdrawals, it’s a mostly predictable sport. This means the chances of backing a winner are increased.

The odds are generally quite low due to this predictability, but a profit’s a profit and that appeals to many gamblers.

Rugby (Union and League)

Rugby offers similar markets to football, which ensures it remains popular among punters.

People can choose from hundreds of markets, from match result to first try-scorer, with in-play options also available. Live streaming has become more common for rugby and there’s also regular TV coverage.


With the rise in popularity of the sport itself, as well as the increase in televised events, the number of people betting on darts has also risen.

Bookmakers offer markets on every tournament, whether it’s betting on the overall winner or match by match.

Bet365 are offering almost twenty markets on the World Matchplay event taking place between July 22-30.

That availability in markets means punters have a large choice of which bets they want to place. Markets include number of legs, handicap betting, and the potential of a 9-dart finish.

Boxing and MMA/UFC

Combat sports are big business and the bigger the fight, the more money will be gambled on it.

Punters can bet on markets including to win fight, fight outcome, number of rounds, to score a knockdown, and fighter to win in a certain round.

Whilst there isn’t the draw of cash-out options, some bookmakers will still offer in-play markets. The glamour of the sport itself, and the big fight feel generated by TV coverage, also encourages punters to part with their cash.

Other Sports

There are several other sports betting markets available, with Bet365 offering opportunities to bet on everything from American Football to Alpine Skiing.

Obviously, some will only entice hardcore fans of the sport itself or serious punters sensing the chance of an easy profit. However, the availability of markets on lesser-known sports shows the growth of sports betting as an industry.

Bookmakers are providing punters with more variety and increased betting options, and punters are in-turn spending more money gambling.

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