The world of sports betting is a big one. In fact, it is probably bigger than you’re imagining. On average, the industry sees an income of between $700 billion and a $1 trillion a year. If you’re wondering what the discrepancy is there, you’ll soon find out when we talk about the FIFA World Cup.
The point is that an enormous amount of money is thrown around in sports betting, but just a few events are actually responsible for the vast majority. These are the sporting events that see the highest betting volumes in the world.
FIFA World Cup
If you had ideas that the NBA or NFL brought in the most money in terms of wagers, you’d be absolutely wrong. Football is the most popular sport in the world by a long shot, and alone annually makes up roughly 70% of all bets made every year.
But if boiling it down to a single event, you just can’t beat the FIFA World Cup. The tournament involves 210 countries, who fight it out in qualifying rounds over the course of months. When the best 32 countries are decided, we head into the epic FIFA World Cup competition.
There is no precise number as to how much is wagered, but an estimate says more than $260 million. Since the FIFA World Cup occurs once every 4 years, you know now why annual sports betting amounts vary so drastically.
The Super Bowl
Now comes the NFL in second place, with the Super Bowl being the runner up. In the United States, NFL bets make up roughly half of all wagers made annually, which is certainly nothing to take lightly.
Getting to specific numbers, in 2017 and 2018 records were smashed, indicating that sports betting is on the rise in the country, bolstered by changing laws. In 2017 the amount changing hands was estimated at $138 million, and in 2018 the number grew to $158 million.
More astonishing is that the above numbers are only official. According to a statement made by the American Gaming Association (AGA,) actual figures were likely significantly higher, and perhaps as much as $4.76 billion.
Next up we have the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which sees a massive flurry of bets. Over the course of the tournament 68 teams go head to head, eager to be declared the national champions.
The AGA put out some rather astonishing figures here as well, declaring that over the course of the tournament that a total of around $10 billion would be wagered. However, once again, the vast majority of these bets were not made legally, and therefore cannot officially be counted. The total is instead around $300 million, but these numbers are questionable.
Last we have the world famous Kentucky Derby, where the Churchill Downs enjoy a day of bustling activity and rapid betting. Over the course of 14 races, around $209 million is put down in wagers, with the Race For The Roses main event responsible for most of this.