YouGov Analyses Gives Insight into UK Football Betting Habits

Market research experts YouGov have investigated the betting habits of football bettors compared to the general public. It gives an interesting insight into how bets are selected.

Football betting is the most popular form of betting in the UK. Official data from the Gambling Commission showed that of those that gamble on sports, 78.7% of punters bet on football. Much higher than those that bet on horse racing (69.9%), or take part in the National Lottery (57.4%).

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YouGov analyses into football betting habits © Pixabay.

Football sponsorship is one way of betting companies to get their brand known and in the Premier League alone, eight clubs have betting sponsorships (down from ten last year). It costs Betway a reputed £10m a year to have their name on West Ham’s shirts. Others include Everton (SportPesa £9.6m), Wolverhampton Wanderers (ManBetX £8m), Southampton (LD Sports £7.5m – now replaced by, Burnley (LoveBet £7.5m), Crystal Palace (ManBetX £6.5m), Newcastle United (Fun88 £6.5m), Watford ( £6.5m), Aston Villa (W88 £6m), Bournemouth (M88 £5m), Norwich (Dafabet £3m).

These sponsorships alone cost operators £76.1m a year.

As football betting is so important to operators, it’s not surprising that bookmakers invest a lot of time and money trying to understand what drives punters to bet.

Oliver Rowe, global sector head of leisure and entertainment at market research experts YouGov, performed an analysis of what factors a football fan considers when placing a bet, YouGov also asked non-football bettors what influences them. The results were surprising with striking differences between the two groups.

The least important factor for both sample groups was the number of days since the last match, with about just 4% for general sports betting compared to 5% for football betting stating this was a consideration.

The first big surprise was the question, “how much I like or dislike a team”. With the general group, the figure was 5%, with football bettors it was slightly higher at 8%. As football fans are generally very loyal to their clubs, often to a fanatical level, you would expect this figure to be much higher. However, when asked, “team I want to win/lose”, general sports fans cited this reason 10% of the time, it was 50% higher for football bettors at 15%.

Another surprise was how influenced sports betting fans were by tips from pundits. Walk into any bookmakers, and you will often see both horseracing and greyhound racing fans checking the Racing Post for tips, yet only 10% of those questioned said they based bets on these tips. For football bettors, the figure was much higher at 18%, although this number is much smaller than anticipated.

Form of individual players, injuries and previous head-to-head meetings accounted for 15%, 12% 20% for general sports fans. With football betting, a similar trend was seen with 15%, 12% and 20% stating it was a consideration. The odds offered by a bookmaker was the second most popular method of choosing what bets to place; however, there was a big gulf between the two groups. For general sports betting the figure was 21%, with football fans it was over double that amount at 48%. This data would suggest that football fans are more likely to go for “the big one”, with potential returns more important to this group.

By far, the biggest consideration when placing a bet for both groups is the recent form of both teams. However, once again, there is a big disparity between football and non-football betting.

For general sports betting, 32% said it was a consideration, a figure that is almost half (62%) of those that bet on football.

Rowe summarised that while it is clear that form and price drive decision-making among gamblers, the data shows that there is a long tail of other factors which he believed that clever marketers might take advantage of to gain a business advantage.

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