Which sport is the most popular for betting in the UK?


The UK enjoys a bet. Being a sport-loving nation, the UK has a good amount of sports that it performs well in, which helps boost its popularity. As the betting sites in the UK point out, bets are taken on a huge variety of sports and events. 


The UK is the home of football, or so we claim, but it’s also home to the most popular league in the world featuring the likes of Pep Guardiola, Christiano Ronaldo, and Erling Haaland. It’s no surprise, then, that the most popular sport in the UK is what receives the most amount of bets each week. Serious betters and casual 10-fold accumulators are common in equal amounts.

The UK Gambling Commission Survey showed that within the last month of being asked, around 5% of Brits had placed a football bet in that short time frame. It’s estimated that £11.4 billion is bet on football each year in the UK, most of which is done online.

But it’s not just the Premier League that attracts bets. Brits like to bet on European football, such as the Champions League, as well as international competitions. The World Cup, starting in November, will be an opportunity for even the most casual of football fans to place bets and pick teams out of the hat at work.

Horse racing

Horse racing has been around for hundreds of years in the UK, and is thought to be one of the first sports to start taking bets. The straight-race nature of it made perfect sense for betting, and it was also an environment in which punters were at the event, close to the action, making it easy to organise physical betting too.

To this day, horse racing remains popular, even if horse racing has lost some of its significance in and of itself. Goodwood, Cheltenham, and many others attract couples and friends to watch live and place bets. The Grand National is on another level, here, as it’s very normal for people who never bet to place an annual traditional bet on this iconic race. Around a third of Brits place a Grand National bet.


Boxing is still a popular sport as shown by the numbers that Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, and even Jake Paul can pull. It may be declining in popularity when it comes to lower-ranked fights, but it can still fill entire stadiums very quickly with a big fight. And, it is these big fights that also generate a lot of betting revenue too.

The poor reputation that judges have has likely influenced bets away from betting on decisions via points and instead relying on clear victories via stoppage.


Finally, cricket is one of the most popular sports in the Commonwealth and continues to generate around three-quarters of a billion in betting revenue each year. The good thing about cricket for British betters is that tournaments are played around the world, from England to India, meaning that there’s always an environment and season conducive to cricket; tournaments are plentiful. The ICC Cricket World Cup is the most-watched tournament, with T20 World Cup being second.

Header image credit: Daniel Norin

Last modified: September 15, 2022

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