A look at how sports betting boosts sports engagement

Rishad Dsouza
November 24, 2021, 4:28 PM UTC

Sports-based gambling claims a big share of the pie when it comes to the overall gambling industry in Britain. So, while sports are beneficial to the gambling industry, does gambling in turn promote more interest in sports?  

To answer that, we tap into data from YouGov Profiles to find out the degree to which betting on sports boosts engagement levels among fans of various popular sports in Britain.  

It will come as no surprise that fans of horse-racing are most likely to experience heightened engagement with sports on account of betting, given the sport’s close and historical association with gambling. Two in five horse racing fans (42%) agree with the statement, “betting helps me feel more engaged with the sports I like”. 

Three in boxing fans (28%) in Britain also feel that betting makes them more engaged with sports they like. A quarter of golf fans also feel that way (25%). The number of fans of pool, snooker or billiards that echo the statement drops to a shade over one in five people (22%). Fans of football (21%), cricket (20%) and cycling (19%) band closely together with about one in five fans of each sport saying that betting helps them feel more engaged. 

Slightly over a sixth of athletics (track & field) fans (18%) say that betting makes them more engaged. An identical share of tennis and rugby fans say the same (16%). The list is closed out by fans of motorsport (13%) and gymnastics (12%), who are around four times less likely than fans of horse-racing to feel that betting boosts their engagement levels in sports they like. 

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.