Where Is Betting Biggest in Europe?

While the world braces for a potential pandemic, people are turning to sports betting as a way of life. According to the latest figures from the International Gaming Federation (IGF), the market value of esports—digital games played on computers or mobile phones—rose by 41% from 2016 to 2017, from $18bn to $26bn. And that was before the pandemic.

Esports attracts audiences and viewers across social media platforms. Twitter users follow professional gamers and top events, and the biggest tournaments can attract millions of viewers – and prize pools of up to a million dollars – on YouTube, Twitch and beyond.

Many traditional sports have transitioned to a digital sphere, with many games available to bet on. Traditionalists can now take part in real-time betting alongside the digital natives, providing a hybrid experience for both.

Where is sports betting biggest in Europe? What are the odds on the next big football or rugby match? How about the next European Championships?

We’ve collated some of the data from the major bookmakers to create a map which details the state of sports betting in the 28 European Union (EU) countries. The data has been taken from the bookmakers’ own websites, with odds from March 28th, 2020.

The map reveals a huge difference in the popularity of sports from country to country. Take a look. 

The United Kingdom Is The Favorites To Beat All The Odds

According to the UK government, there were 144.1m active social media users in 2019. Of these, 67.3m are daily users. In the UK, the population is relatively young, with 71.26% under the age of 45, and 61% under the age of 35. This generation has grown up with digital technology and is more accustomed to interacting with brands via social media than traditional marketing methods. The UK’s dominant social media platforms are Facebook (67.39m daily active users), Twitter (43.87m) and Instagram (38.35m).

Whichever way you look at it, the UK is a massive market for any business, and one which is increasingly open to gaming and betting. In 2021, the country hopes to become the first national gambling market in Europe.

The appetite for sports betting in the UK is evidenced by the popularity of websites like Oddscheck or Mybookie, which allow users to search for odds and place bets quickly and easily. These kinds of websites have become essential in an era of increased scrutiny and compliance. The government has also implemented an e-sports regulation which seeks to protect and promote the growth of e-sport in the UK. This is particularly beneficial for content creators and broadcasters who hope to utilize the increasing popularity of esports to grow their audiences.

France Has The Second Biggest Sports Betting Market In Europe

While the UK is busy preparing for its gambling expansion, France is busy implementing its own regulatory structure around gaming and betting. In September 2020, the French Senate passed legislation to regulate online casinos and sports betting, establishing a self-regulating body to oversee the industry. The response from the online casino industry has been largely positive.

The number of people going online to place a bet in France has risen by 45% in the past year, according to figures from Statista. Francetvinfo, the French gambling operator, has also reported an increase in sports betting sessions, with some people betting up to 10+ hours per day. According to the 2020 International Gaming Federation (IGF) Industry Outlook, the online casino market in France is valued at just over €7bn, with the country also boasting the second largest bookmaker market in Europe. Market leader 18Betting offers a variety of sports and casino games, with over 150 titles including Premier League, La Liga and Champions League matches, as well as international football tournaments such as the Rugby World Cup and the Cricket World Cup. The company sees huge growth potential in the country, with over 300 million euro in additional investments planned over the next three years.

Germany Is Third On The List

With Germany betting market valuing at €4.88bn, it would seem that the country’s love for football is second only to the Netherlands’, with the Bundesliga – Germany’s premier football league – attracting many international fans. This has not gone unnoticed, and the number of people visiting German football stadiums rose by 8% in the past year. With Germany gearing up for the launch of its own Bundesliga 2, it could be set for another boom year.

According to the 2020 International Gaming Federation (IGF) Industry Outlook, Germany’s bookmaker market is valued at €4.76bn with additional online casinos forecast to generate €1.2bn in revenue. With so much popularity and potential, it’s no surprise that Germany is home to a large number of international and local brands. Take Mybet, for example, which is valued at €1.4bn and is one of the largest sportsbooks in Europe, with offices in Germany, Italy and the UK.

Italy Is Fourth On The List

Just as Germany is preparing for the launch of its own Bundesliga 2, Italy is set to do the same. Not only does the country boast one of the most popular football leagues in the world, Serie A, but with over 150 million Italians regularly taking to the terrace or sitting in front of a TV to follow their teams, it’s clear that football is ingrained in the Italian culture.

According to the 2020 International Gaming Federation (IGF) Industry Outlook, the Italian operator market is valued at €3.1bn with €975m in additional investments planned over the next three years. The country’s top football teams, including current European champions Juventus, are helping to drive this interest – and the increase in match fees and TV revenue – with attendances up by 7% in the last year. One of the largest Italian bookmakers, 888 Italia, operates across Europe and North America, as well as having an online betting shop accessible in over 150 countries.

Netherlands Leads The Way To Last On The List

Netherlands is, without a doubt, the European country which leads the way in terms of legal and regulated sports betting. In 2019, a Dutch company, Bet365, became the first foreign firm to be granted a social sports betting license in the country. This allows operators to offer customers a mix of sports and games, with odds curated from across the globe. The company is also exploring the potential to expand into the UK and China. With so much development, it seems unlikely that the country will slow down anytime soon.

According to the 2020 International Gaming Federation (IGF) Industry Outlook, the Dutch operator market is valued at €2.1bn with additional online casinos valued at €1.2bn in potential new markets. The country’s football association, KNVB, has even gone as far as to introduce a new rule this year which allows for more goals to be scored. This encourages fans to place bets on matches, with attendances and bookmaking seen as a key growth area for Dutch operators.

With so much support from the government and public, it’s clear that sports betting is set to continue its upward trajectory in the coming years. The industry will be watching closely as countries around Europe put in place strict regulations and restrictions, creating fresh opportunities for operators to expand.