The UK has embraced sports betting far more than many other countries, with bookmakers supplying odds on an ever-expanding list of sports and events. Sports betting is deeply woven into the fabric of British culture, especially age-old events like The Grand National or Royal Ascot.

But it isn’t just horse racing that punters love wagering on nowadays – far from it.

Bettors have an astonishing variety of sports to choose from – which are all available on the UK’s top betting sites – that it can be hard to keep track, or even know which sports are popular.

This article gives a breakdown of the most popular sports in betting Britain. We’ll cover everything from football to horse racing, using official YouGov gambling statistics to bring the most accurate information and selection.


Football is, unsurprisingly, the most popular sport for UK punters to wager on, and by quite some distance.

45% of active bettors place wagers on football, with the Premier League and Champions League being two of the most common competitions.

However, there are thousands of opportunities elsewhere, with some savvy punters looking for the best value odds in obscure leagues like the Uzbekistan Super League or Moldovan Super Liga.

But let’s be honest – football closer to home is the main attraction. The 2023−2024 Premier League season demonstrates the powerful inexorable pull football has over the UK population, especially with such a tight three-horse title race. The world’s most competitive league throws up surprises almost every week, bringing a sense of jeopardy to the table that only makes sports betting more exciting.

Horse Racing

Horse racing is deeply ingrained in UK tradition, with a rich history stretching back several centuries. The sport is also inseparable from betting, and it has been from the start.

Cultural events like Royal Ascot and The Grand National are the main attractions, but serious horse racing fans can find races across the country on almost every day of the week.

37% of gambling respondents in YouGov’s investigations said they had bet on horse racing over the last 12 months, proving the sport’s vitality in 21st-century Britain.

Wagering options nowadays extend much further than just picking a winner of a race. Punters can increasingly take advantage of each-way bets and forecasts, generating welcome flexibility.


9% of YouGov respondents saying they had placed a wager on competitions like The British Open or The Masters.

Whether it’s Tommy Fleetwood in the Ryder Cup or Rory McIlroy at The US Open, golf fans have plenty of options for betting.

The PGA Tour alone operates more than one hundred yearly tournaments over its six categories, while other organisers like LIV Golf have recently added to the worldwide calendar.

There’s definitely no shortage of options.


Boxing is another sport that is deeply entrenched in British culture and also inseparable from the bookmakers, with 8% of active bettors placing a bet. Promoters like Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn have been responsible for some of the most mouth-watering match-ups in recent years, with Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua scoring their fair share of knockouts and exciting bouts.

Placing a bet on a boxing match is straightforward, with fewer options than something like football. Punters can predict the winner, method of victory, and how many rounds the fight goes to. You can also find more exotic wagers on the most high-profile fights, like the number of knockdowns or disqualifications. Boxing betting adds another dimension to watching these fights, enhancing the tension even further.


Tennis is fifth on the list of the most popular sports to bet on in the UK, with 8% of YouGov respondents saying they had bet on the sport over the past 12 months. One of tennis’s main advantages is the sheer number of matches during the year, with the ATP and WTA tour having well over 10,000 matches over a season.

Tennis is also a particularly beneficial live betting sport, especially during men’s singles at Grand Slams, as these matches use best-of-five set rules. Take the epic 2023 Wimbledon final between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz, lasting 3 hours and 49 minutes – plenty of time for various live wagers on individual games and sets.

Rugby Union

Rugby Union rounds off the list with 6& of respondents placing a bet. Rugby matches are often on a knife's edge, which makes them particularly interesting for punters. Whether it’s a Marcus Smith last-minute drop-goal for England to beat Ireland or the nerve-wracking finale during the 2023 World Cup with New Zealand narrowly beating the hosts – France – there’s a huge amount of excitement to be had with rugby betting.

Statistics found in this article are sourced from the latest YouGov data.