How Many People Bet on Sports in the Uk? [Facts, Stats & Trends]

Whether you put a pound or a hundred, there’s no denying that betting on sports makes watching a match more engaging and entertaining.

Since sports betting is all about the numbers, we compiled a collection of the most engaging sports betting stats that will help you better understand the world of sports gambling and, who knows, maybe even help you win a few quid on the next big game.

Let’s get the ball rolling! 

Top Ten Sports Betting Stats 

  • 5.8% of Brits have participated in sports betting at least once.
  • Sports betting comprises 7% of the total amount of money spent on gambling.
  • The gross yield of the betting industry was estimated at £2.4 billion in March 2020.
  • Football and horse betting lead the pack in the online betting industry. 
  • The number of licensed betting premises declined by 12.3% in 2020. 
  • The global betting industry was worth 203 billion US dollars in 2020.
  •  Football is the most popular sport in the world to bet on.
  • 19% of Americans participated in sports betting in 2019.
  • One of the biggest betting wins in football came when Leicester City won the Premier League. 
  • Sports betting is only legal in about two dozen US states. 

Sports Betting Statistics in the UK

1. How many Brits bet on sports?


As of June 2020, 5.8% of Brits had bet on sports at least once in the previous four weeks, marking a decrease of 1.2% from 2019. The study was conducted with 4,003 participants, aged 16 and older. 

A slight decline may have been noted; however, the number of Brits who bet on sports skyrocketed between 2015 and 2017, going up from just 3.8% to 6.8%. 

2. How many people bet once a week in the UK?


35.1% of British people bet once a week. Stats and facts about sports betting show that this is a popular pastime among British adults, with the majority of people betting once a week and over a quarter (25.4%) of Brits betting at least two days a week.

Only 18.6% of UK adults place bets less than once a month, whereas 20.9% of UK citizens bet once a month or less than once a week.

3. Sports betting comprises 7% of the total amount of money spent on gambling.


Based on both non-remote and online sports betting statistics, Brits spend around £14 billion a year on gambling, with sports betting accounting for about £900 million, i.e. 7%, of that sum. 

According to industry experts, the Covid-19 lockdowns have actually increased the profit of the gambling industry. It appears that due to the lack of live matches, Brits have been spending their monthly sports share on sports wagers instead of going to games. 

4. Households in the UK spent an average of £2.4 a week on gambling payments in 2020.


According to 2020 Statista’s gambling and sports betting stats, the average gambling expenditure for all households in the UK was £2.4. 

With £3.2 per week on average, respondents with a household reference person between 65 and 74 spent the most. This age group is followed by interviewees between 50 and 64, who spent £2.7, and people aged 75 and older, who were spending a weekly average of £2.5. Households with a reference person under the age of 30 spent the least on gambling—around £1.1, followed by households aged 30 to 49 with £2. 

5. 5% over 1,000 plays is considered a great return on investments in betting.

(Football Talk)

In the question of sports betting and ROI, stats show a great number of variables at play. Nevertheless, most sports bettors agree that a 5% return over a thousand plays is more than excellent, provided the size of the bets is large enough to make it worthwhile for the player. 

6. How many people in the UK are problem gamblers?

(The Guardian) (Statista)

Research conducted by the UK Gambling Commission indicates that about 5 million Brits have been subjected to harm due to gambling. Sports betting addiction statistics go even further by revealing that in addition to the 1.4 million UK adults being problem gamblers, 7% of adults, or 3.6 million Brits, have been adversely affected by the gambling addictions of other people.

A Statista survey, on the other hand, suggests that Brits aged 25 to 34 experience the most issue with gambling. The survey shows that 1.3% of problem gamblers are people aged 25-34, shortly followed by people aged 16-24, 1% of whom admit to being problem gamblers. 

The age groups consisting of the fewest problematic gamblers are those aged 45-54 and 60 and older, each with 0.2%, followed by people aged 55-64, 0.3% of whom have a gambling addiction.

UK Sports Betting Industry Statistics

7. The gross gambling yield in the UK amounted to £5.9 billion last year.

(Gambling Commission)

Despite a slight gradual decrease in the last few years, the gambling industry came out on top in 2020. The gross yield from April to September 2020 amounted to £5.9 billion, or £4 billion if we exclude the GGY from lotteries. 

When it comes to stats on the UK sports betting industry and its size, official data shows that in 2020 non-remote betting was the third biggest sector by GGY, generating revenue of £629.3 million. Non-remote betting is preceded by online gambling and lottery ticket sales as the largest sectors in the gambling industry with £3.1 billion and £1.6 billion GGY, respectively,

8. How much is the gross yield of the betting industry in the UK?


As stated above, the UK betting industry is quite a lucrative one, registering a £2.4 billion yield up to March 2020, down from the previous year’s yield of £3.26 billion.

Actually, the sports betting industry in the UK has been obtaining a stable yield of about £3 billion in the last decade, with a few unsubstantial ups and downs throughout the years. That said, the highest yield was recorded at £3.32 billion between April 2015 and March 2016, while the lowest was registered in March 2011 with 2.96 billion pounds. 

9. Football and horse betting lead the pack in the online betting industry. 

(Gambling Commission) (Gambling Commission) 

Seen by category, football and horse betting lead the way with GGY of 1,128.14 and 625.85 million British pounds each. Betting on tennis accounts for 5% of the GGY generated by online betting, followed by virtuals (3.2%), bets on dog races (3.1%), cricket (1.86%) and golf (0.7%). Finally, 9.7% goes to betting on random sports that are not clearly defined or accounted for. 

However, data from April 2020 to March 2021 reveal a decline in the GGY for the online sports betting industry —remote betting totalled one billion pounds, down from  £2.3 billion in the same period the previous year. 

10. Who owns the most betting shops in the UK?


With 2,264 active betting shops in 2019, William Hill is the ultimate leader in Britain’s sports betting industry. Ladbrokes comes second with 1,828 betting shops throughout the UK, followed by Betfred with 1,620 and Gala Coral Group with 1,529.

The remaining 1,079 betting shops within the sports betting industry in the UK are accounted for by other, smaller companies.

11. When it comes to races, horse bets contribute the most to the industry.

(Statista) (Statista)

In the case of on-course bets, horse races are definitely on the top. With a yield of £20.52 million in 2020, horse bets are holding first place, followed by dog races with a yield of £0.93 million. The remaining £0.41 million are contributed by other, smaller sectors within the betting industry.

Speaking of pool betting, sports betting and sport stats show identical results, with horse bets leading the way to a gross yield of £15.4 million between March 2019 and April 2020. Dog races came in second with a yield of £5.07 million, followed by football bets with £3.06 million. The remaining £0.06 are contributed by other smaller sporting and non-sporting activities.

12. Betting on eSports grew at an annual rate of 8.5% from 2016 to 2019.

(Gambling Commission) 

A 2020 online survey reveals that 9% of adults in Great Britain have bet on eSports, an increase of 3% from the previous year. The growth is mainly driven by younger male players—a fifth of bettors aged between 18 and 34 have placed a wager on eSports, as have 36% of males aged 18 to 24. 

13. The number of licensed betting premises declined by 12.3% in 2020. 

(Gambling Commission)

While the overall number of licensed gambling premises in the UK went down by 10.8% the previous year, betting premises suffered the most. Sports betting statistics from the Gambling Commission indicate that in September 2020, there were 6,735 betting shops in Great Britain, which represents a 12.3% decrease compared to March the same year. 

14. How many people work in the betting sector?


The sports betting industry provides jobs for about 46 thousand people in the UK, more than any other gambling sector. This might sound like an impressive number, but it is actually a decrease of almost 10 thousand since 2011.

Sadly, with remote betting and online gambling on the rise, the number of employees in Britain’s betting industry is set to decline further in the future. 

Global Sports Betting Statistics

15. The global betting industry was worth 203 billion US dollars in 2020.


According to global sports betting statistics, there were about 31,000 legal businesses employing 197,000 people in 2020. What’s more, the market size of the global betting industry reached a staggering US $203 billion last year, once again proving the relevance and profitability of the sports betting market.

16. The European gambling market has made an estimated $34.5 billion in revenue.

(The European Business Review) 

This means that annually a gambler spends $72.33 per capita. What’s more, the gambling industry in Europe is projected to grow by 9.20% over the next four years.

Driving this growth is sports betting, with the diversity of options (online and in-person betting) increasing the number of players in Europe by 50%. 

17. Which is the most popular sport to bet on in the UK?

(Pledge Sports)

Football is undeniably the most popular UK sport, so it comes as no shock when statistics for sports betting reveal that the vast majority of people choose to bet on football games. Horse racing used to hold first place; however, due to early cashouts with football betting, the final verdict was in favour of the game of soccer.

Still, football isn’t the most favoured sport to bet on everywhere in the world, as stated by sportsbook statistics. For example, the NFL rules in the USA, while rugby is number one in New Zealand and Australia. Canadians, on the other hand, are loyal to their national sport and prefer to bet on hockey. 

18. Revenue from the sports betting industry in the US amounted to $1.55 billion last year. 


Following the Supreme Court’s decision to remove the federal ban on sports betting in the US, many states have introduced efforts to legalize sports betting. The result was a revenue of $908.9 million for the American betting industry in 2019, which increased to an incredible $1.55 billion the following year. 

19. A 12% increase in mobile betting expenditure was recorded in the US in 2020.

(American Gaming Association)

The American Gaming Association came in with some illegal sports betting statistics, revealing that Americans are slowly turning to legal betting—stats show a 12% increase in online and mobile betting expenditure with legal operators and a 25% decline in spend with illegal bookkeepers.

However, 52% of 2019 bettors still participated in the illegal betting market, 55% of whom believed they’re placing bets legally. 

20. Nevada gained $12.57 million in sportsbook winnings from the Super Bowl in 2021.


The Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting events in the US, so it’s not surprising that betting on this sport became immensely popular once it was legalized. And although winnings dropped since the peak of almost $20 million in 2014, sports betting on Superbowl, stats show, is still a lucrative deal for the state of Nevada, which generated $12.57 million in sportsbook winnings on the game. 

21. 19% of Americans participated in sports betting in 2019.

(The FSGA)

US sports betting facts and figures suggest that, similarly to Brits, Americans are quite fond of sports gambling, with 19% of US citizens placing bets on various sports in 2019. As far as demographics are concerned, 80% of sports bettors are male and 20% female. In addition, 50% are aged between 18 and 36, with the median age being 38.1, and 67% have full-time jobs.

22. NFL bettors comprise 61% of the total betting market in the USA.


Sports betting statistics show that the National Football League is the most popular sport to bet on in the USA, with 61% of the total sports bettors placing wagers on it. The NFL is shortly followed by the NBA with 58% people participating in NBA betting and the Major League Baseball, with 53%.

Sports Betting Facts

23. Is sports betting legal in India?


Even though laws vary by individual states, sports betting is mainly illegal in India, with the exception of horse racing.

This is because India’s Supreme Court has decided horse racing is more of a game of skill rather than a sport, thus allowing bettors to place wagers on horse races. 

24. 0.5% of Brits participated in dog race betting at least once in 2020.


Sports betting stats show that dog race betting has been gradually dropping since 2017, when 1.1% of Brits took part in dog race bets. However, the numbers are somewhat different now, with only 0.5% of Britons placing wagers on dog races, representing a drop of 0.2% since 2019 and 0.3% from 2018.

25. One of the biggest bettings wins in football came when Leicester City won the Premier League. 


A Leicester City fan cashed out £72,000 on a £50 wager back when the Foxes pulled one of the biggest surprises in the Premier League and won the competition in 2015/16.

The anonymous punter cashed out of the 5,000-1 wager, but if he had let it run for a few more weeks, he could have won a whopping £250,000.

26. Vegas Dave is one of the most controversial sports bettors in the world. 

(Total Pro Sports) 

The self-styled betting guru is one of the most famous bettors in the world, known for his insane and highly publicized wins at the sportsbook. Born Dave Oancea, his first big win came in 2015 when the Kansas City Royals won the World Series.

Oancea’s yield of $2.5 million is still considered one of the biggest sports betting wins in the MLB, stats and the official database confirm. 

27. Sports betting is only legal in about two dozen US states. 


Even though the Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting in the US back in 2018, today, about two dozen states have legalized betting on sports.

Moreover, the number of states that have passed sports betting legislation is on the rise, although many still only allow in-person betting and have banned mobile bets.

28. Floyd Mayweather has reportedly suffered $50 million in gambling losses since 2017.


In addition to being one of the best fighters in the history of boxing, Floyd Mayweather is also a known gambler. He famously bragged about winning $1 million from his bet on Oregon beating Arizona State and cashed in over $600,000 betting on the Denver Broncos to beat the Jets. 

However, he doesn’t win all the time. In fact, it is widely speculated that he lost almost 50 million dollars in gambling, so another 9 figure match would probably go a long way towards covering his losses. 

29. Betting at high odds is not always the smart choice. 

(Wales 247) 

When it comes to myths and facts about sports betting, one of the most common ones is that higher odds always bring the biggest profit.

However, higher odds means lower chances of winning the bet, while lower odds bring a lower payout but significantly increase your chances of winning. 

Before You Place Your Wager

You don’t have to be a professional gambler to reap the benefits of betting on your favourite sport. Even the smallest wager can increase the excitement and turn into a nice profit. 

So, the next time you’re watching a match and find yourself itching to make a wager, consider these sports betting stats and facts, carefully calculate how much you’ll put in, choose the best site and place your bet.


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