The Rise of Betting Markets in Sports and its Potential Consequences


Baishampayan Ghose

Avinash Pandit

Sports gambling has been popular since ancient times, where Mayans gambled on the religious “Mayan Ball Game.” In short, sports gambling is a form of gambling where people place a bet based on the outcome of a sporting event. 

People with money and confidence in their knowledge of sports often engage in gambling. It gives more intensity to a game or sport that would typically be less interesting. Even though the game might not have a good team, by placing a wager on one of them makes the game more compelling to watch.

Although sports betting takes place around the world, international sports betting is estimated to have a value of 250 billion dollars. With the legalization of sports betting almost one and a half years ago, the USA is now the fastest-growing sports betting market in the world. In 2009, it was valued at 10 billion dollars, but as of Jan. 2017, sports gambling was valued at around 41 billion dollars, growing at a faster rate than ever before. 

Two main factors explain the massive growth: the increased wealth of people in Asia and the expansion of digital connectivity. Macau and Hong Kong are two of the wealthiest cities in all of Asia and are responsible for 47 percent of the world’s sports gambling industry. With plenty of disposable income, people of Macau and Hong Kong resort to spending money on sports gambling. To add on, Asian internet providers have made internet connection faster and better than ever before.

As of Jun. 2018, 42% of those who watch sports programming currently wager on games, betting $82 per wager on average. The market of sports gambling has proven to have limitless potential and interest. Now that the USA has legalized sports betting, the industry is expected to grow to even higher amounts.  

Sports gambling accounts for upwards of 40 percent of the global gambling revenue around the world, which is more than casino betting, poker, lotteries, and every other type of betting. European football is by far the sport that is most gambled on, followed by American football and horseracing. 

The digital revolution ensures the continued popularity of sports betting. After all, it has never been easier for people around the globe to connect to the internet, and subsequently, start betting via online websites and apps. The world of online sports betting expands to more than just computers and laptops. Globally, around 20 percent of online betting takes place and on smartphones. By the end of 2020, mobile sports betting is projected to upwards of 45 percent.

Technology has changed the way we live in almost every aspect. It’s also transformed the industry of sports betting, and the evidence only suggests that it will continue to grow and develop.