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Study

The Availability of Sports Betting Products

An Economic and Integrity Analysis

The purpose of this study is to provide a data-driven evidence base upon which policymakers can make more informed judgements about the availability of regulated sports betting products and how best to respond to growing consumer demand for these products, while strengthening oversight of the onshore market and the fight against match-fixing. It has been prepared by H2 Gambling Capital (H2) for the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) and its partners, the Instituto Brasileiro de Jogo Responsável (IBJR), Canadian Gaming Association (CGA), Netherlands Online Gambling Association (NOGA) and Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA).

Executive Summary

The study analyses and compares the availability of sports betting products, notably online, in 12 jurisdictions where there is currently a wide variation of regulatory approach, namely: Great Britain, Italy, Ontario, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, Portugal, Australia, Germany, Canada (excluding Ontario) and Brazil. The latter in the emerging markets section. The US market is not specifically included due to the number and variety of state regulatory models but may be the subject of bespoke analysis at a future stage.

Regulated global sports betting is forecast to be worth $94bn in gross gambling revenue (GGR) in 2024, with 65% ($61bn) generated via online bets and is forecast to reach approximately $132bn by 2028, with over 70% ($93bn) online. This study and its analysis focuses on the core sports betting products – in-play, football, tennis and basketball betting – that drive that growth globally. It assesses the market impact of the availability of those core sports betting products based on actual operator data, IBIA alert data, and H2’s own market data. As such, it provides as comprehensive an assessment of the current state of play as is possible at this time. The central finding of the study is that, alongside other regulatory and economic factors – including taxation and advertising policy – there is a strong correlation between the availability of sports betting products and onshore channelling.

Impact of In-play Sports Betting

Just under half (47%) of all sports bets are forecast to be placed in-play (or live) in 2024, equating to around $28.4bn in GGR. In-play betting is a particularly popular product with consumers and is forecast to account for 51% ($47bn) of sports bets by 2028. Understandably, most jurisdictions in this study, and indeed more generally where betting is regulated, permit a wide availability of in play betting through both land-based and online channels.

Australia, however, has banned all online in-play sports betting, which is the primary reason for its low onshore consumer channelling rate, which is expected to remain relatively stagnant (75% in 2024 to 79% by 2028) under the current regulatory regime. The adverse impact on channelisation is also apparent in Germany, which restricts in-play betting to a limited number of markets, compounding wider betting product restrictions. Germany is forecast to have a relatively low 60% onshore channelisation in 2024.

In contrast, jurisdictions that permit in-play betting have noticeably higher onshore consumer channelisation rates. Ontario, which only opened its market in 2022, immediately overtook the German market’s onshore sports betting channelisation rate and is expected to overtake Australia’s in 2023-24. Ontario is expected to have a 92% onshore rate in 2024. Whilst the well-established market in Great

Britain, which similarly permits in-play betting, is forecast to have 97% onshore channelisation.

Football (Soccer) Betting

Betting on football (soccer) is forecast to generate $53bn in GGR from around $570bn in turnover in 2024 and is the dominant sports betting product with over 56% of the regulated betting market gross win globally and significantly upwards of that figure in many geographical regions. It is primarily only in North American markets that this product and market dominance is challenged, and where American football, basketball, baseball and ice hockey have stronger consumer sports betting product demand and spend. Football (soccer) is forecast to reach $71bn in GGR by 2028.

For most geographical regions, betting on football is therefore the dominant product, accounting for an average of 69% of gross win for all sports betting across Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa, and is in high demand.

The availability, or more importantly lack of, football betting products therefore has a significant impact on consumer engagement, and migration offshore is a clear impact where that consumer demand is not met onshore. Indeed, it is particularly noticeable that consumer channelling to onshore licensed and taxed sports betting operators is lower in markets that restrict football betting products. That channelisation is impacted both by any limitation on the types of bets offered and by the sporting competitions on which bets may be offered.

Tennis Betting

Tennis is one of the most popular sports globally for betting, notably online. This is due to the sheer volume of matches and the fact that it is played worldwide; there is therefore tennis betting product availability around the clock. It is particularly strong in Europe, where its GGR is second only behind the globally dominant football (soccer) product. Global tennis GGR is expected to reach $4.4bn in 2024 and is forecast to be over $6bn annually by 2028.

The main focus of the availability of betting on tennis has been the ITF Tour and where some jurisdictions have severely restricted or prohibited access to that product. It is an approach that is presumed to be predicated on the number of suspicious betting alerts generated by that tour.

Basketball Betting

With close to $8bn in GGR expected in 2024, global betting on basketball is forecast to reach over $11bn in GGR by 2028, albeit that will still be some way behind football (soccer) at around $71bn. While betting on basketball is popular in Europe and Asia, its forecast position as the second most bet on sport globally behind football (soccer) in 2024 is primarily due to the strong consumer demand in North America and the state regulation of betting that has been established across much of the US since 2018.

There is a wide availability of betting on basketball across many of the jurisdictions analysed in this study. However, restrictions on the number of competitions are imposed in Portugal and Germany. Restrictions on the in-play betting product are also imposed in Australia (prohibition) and Germany (severely limited). As is the theme throughout this report, those product restrictions hamper onshore channelisation and the resultant market oversight, consumer protection and taxable returns. Integrity issues with basketball are relatively low with the regulated operators in this study, further questioning the justification for those product restrictions.

IBIA members reported 59 basketball matches as being the subject of suspicious betting during 2017-23 from around 360,000 basketball matches offered for betting. That involved matches in 26 different sporting nations and customers from 33 different country locations, with 150 locations in total across all alerts averaging nearly three different customer country locations per suspicious bet.

Suspicious basketball betting activity involved bets placed outside of the jurisdiction where the potentially corrupted sporting event took place and any regulatory framework potentially restricting such bets on 97% of occasions. Customers in 10 countries accounted for 75% of suspicious betting activity, with basketball matches taking place in the Philippines, Russia and Bulgaria accounting for nearly 50% of all alerts.

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