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Sports betting worldwide - statistics & facts

Sports betting is a type of gambling that refers to the activity of placing a wager on the outcome of a sporting event. Events on which wagers are made could be anything from more traditional activities like horse or dog racing to sports such as soccer and American football. Bets are typically made through bookmakers, also known as sportsbooks. These operate both as land-based establishments, for example, at casinos or betting shops, and online. The total amount of money wagered by bettors is known as a handle, while the amount of money earned by a sportsbook after paying out the winners is revenue. Although sports betting is still not legal everywhere, the global market is large and lucrative. The sports betting and lottery market size worldwide amounted to 194.63 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, an increase over the previous year’s total of almost 173 billion U.S. dollars.

Where is the biggest sports betting market in the world?

While the global market is large and lucrative, sports betting is still not legal everywhere. Furthermore, the countries that do offer legal sports betting also offer many other types of gambling. For these reasons, it is often hard to definitively identify the market leader when it comes to sports betting alone. Of the leading gambling companies worldwide, the top company, bet365, was based in the United Kingdom, while Wynn Resorts and Genting, were based in the United States and Malaysia, respectively. All three companies reported a brand value of over three billion U.S. dollars in 2021. Although gambling markets are often based around casino and lottery games, the sports betting sector has been growing in popularity across the world. In 2021, the gross revenue from the Macao soccer sports lottery alone totaled 415 million Macao patacas. The same year, the total sports betting revenue in the U.S. reached 4.33 billion U.S. dollars.

Impact of COVID-19 on sports betting

With many professional sports leagues and events not possible during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the sports betting industry was hit hard. During a 2020 survey in the U.S. the majority of respondents noted that they were betting less since the pandemic began. Not only were sporting events paused but many brick-and-mortar establishments were closed to the public, making the need to digitalize sports betting more pressing. Luckily, the global market size of the online gambling and betting industry was already growing prior to the pandemic. By 2021, the industry amounted to 61.5 billion U.S. dollars. That figure was forecast to rise to 114.4 billion by 2028, representing an increase of just over 86 percent. Similarly, the forecast number of online sports bettors in the U.S. was expected to increase from 19 million in 2022 to 23.1 million in 2023.

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