How Brits will bet on the Olympics
July 5th, 2021, Oliver Rowe

How Brits will bet on the Olympics

The Olympics is the biggest event in sport and therefore one of the biggest for the gambling industry.

A new YouGov survey regarding gambling intentions shows nearly one in ten (9%) British adults plan to place a bet of some kind on the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, scheduled to begin July 23. Younger Brits — aged between 18-24 (15%) and 25-39 (12%) — are most likely to ramp up the excitement of the Games with a wager.

YouGov Direct polled 1,500 UK adults online on June 9 and the overall sample is nationally representative.

As mobile betting continues its assent, three-quarters (75%) of likely Olympics punters say they plan to place their bets via an online sportsbook, while 25% say they will place in-person bets. A little more than one in ten (11%) also plan to place casual bets with friends, family or colleagues.

Nearly half of betters (45%) will place money on individual matches or events and a quarter (25%) will wager on medal counts. Some British punters will place accumulator or parlay bets (16%), spread bets (13%) and prop/spot bets (8%). About one in ten (11%) will place Olympic future bets (prior to the start of the Games).

The rise of online betting has brought with it a massive appetite for live wagers – 34% of Brits who plan to put some money down on the Games intend to make in-play or live wagers, such as betting on when the next goal will be scored during a football match. Of course, live betting may not be a viable option in the ten-second-long 100-meter dash, which is likely to be among the most popular events on which betters will place wagers. We do however expect in-play bets to be popular in team matches, such as football, volleyball and basketball.

Punters appear to be most likely to bet on events such as track and field (49%), football (49%), boxing (31%), tennis (28%), and gymnastics (20%). Other events that will draw gamblers include swimming (18%), basketball (15%), cycling (15%), badminton (8%), diving (7%), weightlifting (6%), table tennis (6%) and volleyball or beach volleyball (6%), archery (3%) and baseball (3%).

For marketers looking to reach this audience, Brits also told us what they’ll likely be doing while watching the Games. About a third (35%) say they’ll be on gambling sites to check odds, place bets or cash out; roughly a quarter (27%) will be chatting on social media (27%) or searching for player and athlete details (25%); and one in five (20%) will be on a gambling site to play other games. One in five (19%) will likely be working during a game or event.

Meanwhile it’s worth noting that in the US – where gambling laws have shifted dramatically since the last Olympic Games as a result of a 2018 Supreme Court ruling – 9% of adults are likely to place a bet on the upcoming Games in Tokyo.

For the betting industry, 2021 is shaping up to be a year of growth, thanks to a rise in the number of gamblers during COVID-19 lockdown. As the UK emerges from lockdown measures, they have been greeted with two of the biggest sporting events on the planet – The Euros and the Olympics.

Let the games begin.