Is the sports betting market worth $1 trillion worldwide?

Oct 8, 2013 |
By: Jon Campbell
The worldwide sports betting industry is worth anywhere between $700 billion and $1 trillion according to Sportradar, a company that monitors the gambling activity of over 55,000 sports matches a year.

The estimation was reported by the BBC and says that more than 70 percent of that action is placed on football matches in the legal and illegal betting markets.

It's the latest gargantuan estimation in a series of recent ones about the global betting industry, which seem to be inflating all the time.

Last week I reported on one from Interpol from the Sydney Herald that said the worldwide sports betting market is around $500 billion. The week before that a report by Companies & Markets research group said the global online gaming market will be $173.5 billion by 2018.

Around the same time, a report from H2 Gambling Capital said $2.6 billion is spent annually on illegal offshore gambling websites in the U.S. and $33 billion is spent worldwide.

Seems like every week the numbers vary, and the truth is it's next to impossible to confirm the accuracy of any of them.

On one hand, it's good for us. A number like $1 trillion has 12 zeroes in it.  That'll get the attention of lawmakers in a hurry - which could help the cause for legalization as politicians start to figure out ways to regulate and tax sports betting.

On the other hand, we still want and need credible estimates. We don't want policy makers, reputable businesses and the public making decisions based on numbers that were conjured up to make headlines.
As the global market moves closer to a regulated online industry, these numbers will get more measurable. New Jersey's date to go online is Nov. 26 and hopefully more states will follow.

Until we have more concrete data, we always have to consider the source when the latest trendy estimate comes out.  

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