A look at sports gambling habits in Britain
May 13th, 2022, YouGov

A look at sports gambling habits in Britain

Sports betting remains big business in the United Kingdom and YouGov’s Global Gambling Profiles offers granular data on the attitudes and habits of gamblers in the UK, and around the world.

Without much surprise, football (soccer) is securely atop our list of sports that regular UK gamblers (bet in past 30 days) have bet on in the last 12 months, with 45% telling us as much. Horse racing comes in second, with 37% of gambling respondents telling us they’ve bet on the sport in the last 12 months. Other sports high on our list are golf (9%), boxing (8%), tennis (8%), Rugby Union (6%), and cricket (6%).

It’s worth noting that a quarter of all gamblers in the UK don’t bet on sports at all, confirming that there remains an opportunity to grow the sector in the maturing UK market.

Moving further down the list, the breadth of YouGov’s data emerges, with sports such as darts (6%), greyhound racing (5%), motorsport (5%), snooker/pool (4%), Rugby League (3%), and mixed martial arts (3%). Close to a dozen other sports are tracked in YouGov’s Global Gambling Profiles tool.

American sports leagues, such as the NFL (5%), the NBA (3%) and MLB (2%) attract the attention of some UK bettors, albeit in small, single-digit proportions.

Looking along age demographics, some interesting datapoints reveal themselves. British gamblers aged 18-24 are significantly more likely than other age groups to have placed a bet on esports (7% vs. 2% of all bettors), which is the result of esports being more popular among younger generations. Further, this age group is much more likely to have bet on fantasy sports, such as football or cricket, in the last 12 months (10% vs. 4%). This group is less likely than others to place a bet at least once a week (16% do so vs. 24% of Uk gamblers.)

Similar patterns emerge among those 25-34, although this group is more likely to have bet on virtual sports, such as computer-generated AI horse racing, in the last year (4% vs. 2%).

Those in the 35-44 are drawn to boxing compared to other age groups (12% vs. 8%). British gamblers 45-54 over-index in football gambling (50% vs. 45%), while those 55 and over are more likely than other groups to have bet on horse racing in the past year.

Moving to gender lines, we see some interesting differences. While women are generally less likely than men to participate in any sports gambling, In the past 30 days, UK women who do bet on sport (online or offline) over-index in horse racing betting (62% vs 54% of men) and under-index for football (48% vs 77% of men).

YouGov’s Global Gambling Profiles also includes brand use among gamblers. For example, among UK gamblers who are fans of the Premier League, a plurality has used SkyBet in the past week (26%), while a significant proportion has used Bet365 (17%), and Paddy Power (12%). Several Premier League clubs have long—term sponsorships with betting brands, including West Ham United, which has a long-standing deal with Betway. And indeed, West Ham fans are more likely to have used Betway in the last week compared to the broader football fan base (4% vs. 2%), but Sky Bet and Bet365 still remain the most popular among West Ham fans.

Sports betting remains a growing industry, but shifting grounds mean brands must remain nimble. A robust consumer dataset like Global Gambling Profiles is crucial for firms to fully understand their position in the marketplace and plan their future growth.