What sports do people bet on the most?
The global sports betting industry is estimated to be worth a whopping $3 trillion, although illegal sports betting makes up over half of that figure. Which sports are people betting on most? Here is a look at the top five.
The fifth-most wagered-on sport in the world is cricket. To give you an idea of how much is bet upon the game, consider the match between India and Bangladesh in the 2019 Cricket World Cup. On just one legal betting platform in England, a staggering £17 million, which is around $22 million, was bet on that game alone. On the same betting website, £71 million was matched in bets on the 2019 Indian Premier League final, which saw the Mumbai Indians defeat the Chennai Super Kings.
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Tennis is the most popular individual sport on the planet. And the sheer number of tennis tournaments held each year will have something to do with why tennis is the fourth-most wagered on sport in the world. The International Tennis Federation holds around 1,500 tournaments each year, which comprise of about 93,000 matches. So, there is always a game for tennis fans to bet on. The Wimbledon tournament in England is the most prestigious competition of the tennis year. More than 1 billion people tune in to Wimbledon at some point during the competition. In the UK, when Scot Andy Murray made it to the Wimbledon final for
the first time in 2012, the bookmakers Betfair saw their largest ever market. Over £58 million was bet on the game.
The third-most-popular sport betted on in the world is basketball. According to the American Gaming Association, around $10 billion is wagered on the single-elimination tournament March Madness, in which 68 teams battle it out over seven rounds in a month with the hope of becoming national champions. However, that number considers both legal and illegal betting. It is thought only around 3% of that $10 billion figure is wagered legally. According to gaming analysts Eilers & Krejcik, if all 50 US states had legal online sports betting, sportsbooks would handle around $15.2 billion of total legal bets for March Madness alone. Eilers & Krejcik also predict as many as 39 states could have legal sports betting by 2023.
In the US, football is undoubtedly the most popular sport for wagers. And globally, the game is the second-most betted-upon. Wagers on the NFL make up nearly half of all sports bets placed in the US. As for specific events, the Super Bowl is the single most popular sports betting tournament of the calendar. In 2018, the Super Bowl brought in a record-breaking $158.6 million worth of bets. However, that is only the official figure. When considering illegal sports gambling, the number is estimated to be closer to a whopping $4.76 billion. Estimates suggest the 2020 Super Bowl saw 26 million people betting on the action, 5 million of which betted via mobile or online platforms.
The most popular sport in the world is soccer, so it is no surprise to discover that the game is the global sport betted upon most. According to betting and sports data analyst Sportradar, around 70% of all worldwide legal and illegal betting comes from wagering on soccer. Within the game of soccer, the tournament that has the biggest betting volume is the FIFA World Cup, which occurs every four years. The competition begins with 210 countries participating in the initial qualifying rounds to battle it out on the pitch to make the final 32. Bettors around the world place wagers at every step of the way. It is estimated that each World Cup tournament sees over $260 million in placed bets.