How popular is fantasy betting and esports betting compared to traditional sports betting?
June 9th, 2023, Rishad Dsouza

How popular is fantasy betting and esports betting compared to traditional sports betting?

Globally, across the 24 markets that YouGov tracks on Global Gambling Profiles, a fifth of gamblers say they have placed a bet at an online sports bookmaker in the past 12 months (21%). Fantasy sports betting online (for real money) has been a third as popular over the same period (7%), and an identical proportion placed bets on esports online (7%).

But trends might be shifting among younger gamblers. While most types of online betting – including traditional sports bets – are more popular among those aged 18-34 compared to those aged over 55, the relative popularity of both fantasy sports and esports is much higher among these groups.

A quarter of consumers aged 18-34 (25%), and a fifth of those aged 35-54 (22%) say they bet on online sports in the past 12 months. This share drops to a markedly lower but still sizeable 15% among those aged over 55.

When it comes to fantasy sports betting however, the rate among the senior group is tiny (2%). And an identical share of them have bet on esports (2%). In comparison, those aged 18-34 are more than five times more likely to have placed wagers on esports (12%) and fantasy sports (11%) respectively.

While traditional sports betting holds pole position among all age groups, fantasy sports and esports betting are relatively less established mediums, with ample room for growth. Current trends among younger gamblers suggest that these forms of betting could come closer to the levels of popularity of online sports betting in the years to come.

Our data shows that fantasy sports betting is already in the dominant position in certain markets. In India, fantasy sports is the most popular (31%) followed by regular online sports betting (27%) and then esports (14%). It is worth noting that gambling laws have been far more restrictive in India than most of the other markets examined in this piece, opening up only in recent years.

In the US, where gambling has also been under far greater regulatory supervision (and online remains banned in many states), the gap between online sports betting (22%), fantasy sports (14%) and esports (12%) is far less pronounced.

In some of the most mature gambling markets such as the UK and Australia, online sports betting takes a significant lead over the other forms. Over two-fifths of gamblers in both markets say they have placed bets at online sports bookmakers in the past year. In comparison, only a tenth of UK gamblers (9%) have placed bets on fantasy sports and a much lower share still have done so on esports (3%).

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Methodology: YouGov Global Gambling Profiles, which includes data from 24 countries, is based on continuously collected data from several sources, rather than from a single limited questionnaire.