Sports Betting has become one of the most popular activities within the world of sport. Many bookmakers now offer a comprehensive selection of sports activities, with odds that are frequently better than those found in traditional sports like football or cricket. Thanks to the phenomenal growth of social media, fans can now be more involved in the action than ever before, with live streaming coverage of sporting events available on just about every major social media network.
Despite the popularity of Sports Betting, much still remains unknown. One of the main questions is just how widespread the phenomenon is amongst sports fans. In this article, we will explore the prevalence and habits of bettors in the world of sport, revealing some very interesting details about this niche audience.
How Widely Did Sports Betting Spread Across the Globe?
When the Covid-19 pandemic put a stop to sporting events from happening in their usual arenas, it marked the beginning of a new era for online sports betting. Suddenly, fans had access to endless cricket, football, and basketball games, as well as a whole host of other sports that they could have formerly only followed through a livestream. This change had broad repercussions, not just on a societal level, but also amongst the audience that was previously deprived of live sporting events.
In the months following the pandemic, many bookmakers and online sportsbooks changed their tack, focusing not just on pandemic-proof sports like tennis and golf, but also incorporating a wider variety of sports into their offerings. Many traditionalists may still prefer to follow their favorite sports on TV, but plenty of people are discovering the joys of online betting, particularly in Asia, where the use of mobile apps to place bets is commonplace. In the UK, the Takeaway service has reported that over 1.8 million people are currently registered with the company, with the figure in the US being even higher.
Where Does Sports Betting Come From?
The popularity of sports betting amongst fans can be credited to a number of different factors. Firstly, the ease with which fans can place bets, coupled with the quick turnaround of results means that betting on sport is often seen as a way of engaging with fans more often than traditional sports. Secondly, the advent of social media has made it possible to follow scores and results of matches via various platforms, like Twitter, which was originally designed for sports fans to share their views and engage with other users. Finally, the increasing use of statistics and data in sport may have also played a role in the rise of online sports betting, with many traditionalists turning to odds makers for the latest results and stats on their favorite sports.
What Age Group and Gender Predominates in Sports Betting?
One surprising statistic regarding the growth of online sports betting is just how young the audience is. In the UK, the Office for National Statistics has reported that 3.3 million people between the ages of 16 and 24 used online betting shops in 2019, compared to 2.2 million adult customers in online gambling establishments in 2018. Similarly, the NGAQ (The UK’s Gaming Authority) states that 23.4% of the UK’s population between the ages of 16 and 24 are now frequent consumers of online sports betting, up from just 7.7% in 2018.
Amongst the demographics that are using online betting, there is a clear trend of males between the ages of 16 and 24 turning to online sports betting, while females between 25 and 54 are less likely to engage in this activity. However, the generation that is growing up in the age of social media is proving to be a hybrid audience, with some children interested in sports and some who are not. This trend is clearly evident in the UK, where 11.4% of the generation now between 5 and 24 years old regularly use social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and WhatsApp to consume content. Amongst this audience, 19% are considered to be “sports fans,” while an additional 21% are considered to be “non-sports fans.” The generation that is growing up in the age of digital nomads and social media are proving to be a new breed of sports fan, who now have access to a wealth of sporting content at the click of a button.
Describe the Typical User of an Online Sports Betting Store.
Taking a step back, let’s examine what we know about sports betting fans, both in general and specifically in comparison to other demographic groups within the audience of an online sports betting shop. First, we know that they are very much into results and data, with over 71% of users stating that they frequently use stats and figures to make their wagers. Moreover, over 64% of this audience said that they used social media to follow scores and results of matches. Finally, 69% of these online sports bettors stated that they used the internet to research teams and players, while nearly 58% used search engines to find the information they need. The use of multiple media channels to follow sports is very much a feature of this audience, with 72% using more than one form of digital media to stay up to date with scores and results of games.
What Is Sports Betting Done Via Mobile App?
The majority of online sports betting is currently done on mobile devices, with 56.2% of adults in the UK using their smartphones to access betting websites and apps. This compares with a 38% share of mobile usage amongst adults in the US, according to Statista.
Thanks to the explosion of smartphones and high-speed networks, many people now have the capability of accessing online sportsbooks from the convenience of their homes, rather than having to go to a bookmaker’s office or sporting event to place a bet. This convenience has made mobile sports betting incredibly popular, with 35.2 million people in the UK accessing betting websites and apps via their phones. This mirrors the US trend, with 35.9 million adults between the ages of 16 and 24 using mobile apps to place bets in the year 2019.
The rise of mobile sports betting is a reflection of the increasing use of smartphones amongst this audience, with 77% of all adults between the ages of 16 and 24 owning a smartphone. These devices not only make accessing online sportsbooks easily accessible, but the content that can be found on them may also inspire future bets from these users. For example, 70% of millennials between the ages of 18 and 24 stated that they would use fantasy sports as a way of playing sports, while 55% said that they would use stats and information as inspiration for their teams.
Does Sports Betting Increase the Odds of Winning?
Sports betting doesn’t necessarily increase your odds of winning. In fact, in most cases it’ll actually decrease them. If you’re curious as to how it works, you should check out our guide to understanding odds. Essentially, the higher the number of people betting on a certain side of an event, the lower the odds are of that side coming up trumps. For example, a one-off bet of £10 on a soccer match with odds of 2.0 (2.0 to 1.0) means that, on average, the bettor will have to pay out £20 for the pleasure of seeing their team win by one goal. Compare this to a scenario where the same bet is placed with odds of 1.0 (1.0 to 1.0), with the winnings being parlayed into three one-off bets of £5 (returning an average win of £12.67 per game).
In general, the spread of odds is likely to be narrower in betting shops that specialize in high-risk, high-reward (HRHR) sports like poker and casino games. This is because in these instances the house is in charge of setting the odds, while the bookmakers exist to assist bettors. For instance, a UK bookmaker may assist in setting the odds for high-profile football matches, but will only offer fixed odds on horse, dog, and auto racing, as well as poker and casino games. On the other hand, a gambling website that offers all manner of bets, including online poker and casino games and fixed odds bets on sporting events, is more likely to have wider odds as they are responsible for setting the spreads on all their available bets.
Is Sports Betting Legal?
Sports betting is legal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in the US, as well as in Canada, the UK, and most of Europe. However, where it is criminal to engage in gambling, it is illegal to place bets on sporting events. In addition, countries like Germany, Japan, and France have strict laws prohibiting people from placing bets on sporting events, with several others, like Italy and Spain, having restrictions that only allow certain people to bet on certain sports events.