Avid sports fans are a common breed in the UK, and they tend to support their favourite teams with admirable dedication. In fact, many harbour such strong loyalties that they are ready and willing to bet on game outcomes.
The near-unrivalled presence of brick-and-mortar gambling providers in the UK goes some way to explain the popularity of betting in general, although some sports and specific events have historically attracted more attention than others.
Football has long been amongst the most popular sports for betting in the UK. And just to clarify, this is the worldwide game, rather than the one being played with an egg-shaped ball (see below). Significant events like international matches and World Cup fixtures tend to draw the largest crowds, both in the stands and in the betting houses. Almost every aspect of a football game can become the subject of a bet, including the match MVP, number of goals on either side, and of course, the winning team. Even if the rules seem relatively simple, punters would be wise to check out the range of useful information available online which is designed to help with the navigation of UK-specific rules and parameters like fractional odds.
As the home of Wimbledon, the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, the UK could be seen to have home-court advantage in the betting arena. In fact, the widespread love for the game is so strong that it likely entices even those who would not usually place a bet. The window for betting on international events is also wide open, including the Australian Open, French Open, and US Open. Around the tennis court, fractional betting is popular amongst UK residents, allowing for punters to cap the value on multifaceted “exotic” bets and protect against significant losses.
Although horse-racing as a gambling vessel pales in comparison with the ever-popular football codes, the novelty of the sport still brings plenty of punters to the table. With numerous horse-racing events happening around England, including Cheltenham Festival, Epsom Derby, Royal Ascot and Grand National, there’s plenty of local goodness on display for racing fans in the UK. Horse-racing also has many dedicated fans overseas, which opens up opportunities for UK enthusiasts to get an extra kick out of international events.
As one of the favourite national sports of the US, the NBA has also taken the fancy of many UK residents who like to place the odd bet. The love for basketball in the UK has fallen short of the nation’s fascination with American football in recent years, but an upwards surge has been predicted, and a range of tailored betting guides released on UK sites in anticipation. Punters can bet on a wide range of outcomes, including the total number of points scored in a game, individual player performances, and the all-important MVP award.
No longer seen as a novelty alternative to the more familiar football codes, American football draws an eager crowd amongst UK residents. The presence of NFL betting guides online is a testament to its popularity, although a chasm still exists between UK locals who understand and appreciate the game and those who are yet to catch on. For obvious reasons, the games in London tend to be more popular amongst the UK crowd, although the original US version is still surprisingly popular in this overseas market.
Although it may not be as fast-moving as other popular betting subjects, golf boasts several major events with an established fanbase in the UK, and growth potential in the gambling sphere. Like many other sports, betting on golf isn’t limited to basic outcomes like wins and losses, instead providing punters with the option to bet on aspects such as the winning margin and whether there will be a hole-in-one. The challenge is that golf, as an individual game on an outdoor course with unique terrain, is susceptible to sudden changes of direction with the potential to dramatically alter the outcome.
The UK has clearly embraced its national affinity for gambling, particularly in the realm of the humble sports bet, and these events will likely continue to grow in popularity. Simply put, it’s an exciting time in the country with plenty of money on the table, for those who play ball, as well as those who prefer to play the odds.