Online gambling around the world: Where sports betting reigns supreme

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
September 24, 2021, 7:35 PM UTC

Fueled by innovation, de-regulation in key markets, and the pandemic, it’s clear that the popularity of online gambling globally has achieved new heights. This growth has been driven largely by lottery and sports betting. 

Sports betting in Great Britain remains the second most popular form of online betting among online gamblers (40%), behind lottery draws (61%). 

These new insights are part of a fresh YouGov whitepaper that delves deep into attitudes and habits around online gambling in several global markets, including Great Britain and beyond. 

The global popularity of lottery products – prize draws or instant tickets – and sports betting is clear. In six of 13 countries, online lottery is the most popular online product, and a further four have it as the second most popular product. 

Sports betting is also the most popular online product in six countries while it is the second most popular in a further six. Lottery instants are the third most popular online product in eight of the 13. 

In the United States, sports betting comes out on top (32%), though it’s a photo-finish with lottery draw (31%) with slots in third (23%). And online sports betting in the US is only going to grow as states de-regulate. 

Yet the piecemeal progress of state-by-state legislation in the US with fewer than 20 states so far online with either sports betting or online gaming means incidence of online gambling in the US is fully ten percentage points lower than the global average (7% versus 17%). But if or when laws change in the most populous states of New York, Florida, Texas, and California, online betting will grow in general  - as will sports betting. 

The only standout from this lottery/sports hegemony is India where fantasy games are the most popular online product, followed by skill games. Again, this is likely down to the nature of the regulatory picture in India where gambling products are strictly limited to skill games including fantasy sports, while lotteries are run by the individual states.