The Most Popular Sports Scots Love to Bet On

For ages, betting on the outcome of sporting events has been a popular kind of recreation. These activities are gaining appeal on a global scale. 

However, betting on sports is more prevalent in certain countries, Scotland being one of them. It’s worth noting that Scotland is a member of the United Kingdom, and as such, the UK Gaming Commission regulates all gambling activities conducted on its territory. 

Sports have always been a significant part of Scots culture. Interestingly, the country is home to the world’s second-oldest football league and many fans of sport betting. Before trying it yourself, make sure to check this list of online bookmakers.

Betting Laws and Legislation in Scotland

For a long time, betting on sports and gambling, in general, were not allowed in Scotland, and these activities were subject to several limitations, as previously indicated. After decades of being a legally murky area, betting was once fully prohibited. Anti-gambling views and prohibition began in the early nineteenth century – in 1845, the Gaming Act was passed, and the 1853 Betting Houses Act prohibited betting shops throughout Scotland and Great Britain. It restricted practically all forms of gambling and emphasized the eradication of lower-class gambling activities. 

Everything changed in 1960 with the passage of the Betting and Gaming Act — betting shops opened for the first time in over a century in May 1961. Additionally, private casinos were legalized. Local magistrates issued around 16,000 licenses during the next four years. The government-run lottery began operations in 1994. However, the 1986 Licensed Betting Offices Regulations established significant restrictions on betting shops throughout Scotland – they were required to close between 7 p.m. and 12 a.m., display the legal betting age (18), and prohibit advertising outside the shop. 

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The gambling industry is currently controlled by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), founded in 2007 under the Gambling Act 2005. As a United Kingdom Parliament Act, this is the primary piece of legislation that regulates all gaming and betting activities throughout the UK, including Scotland. 

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The Act vests local governments and Scottish licensing boards with the licensing authority. It permits commercials for gambling and betting on radio and television. Additionally, it regulates internet gambling and betting. The Gambling Licensing and Advertising Act of 2014 introduced several amendments to the statute. It required all offshore operators to apply to the UKGC for a license and pay a 15% consumption tax on gross revenues. In addition, ad restrictions have been altered or eliminated. 

All individuals aged 18 and older are legally permitted to wager in Scotland under existing rules. There is no tax on lottery, sports betting, or casino gambling winnings.

Most Popular Sports in the United Kingdom 

In the United Kingdom, ardent sports fans are a widespread breed, and they are known for their remarkable devotion to their favorite teams. Indeed, many have such strong allegiances that they are willing to wager on game outcomes. 

The near-unmatched presence of brick-and-mortar gambling operators in the UK helps explain the popularity of betting in general. In contrast, certain sports and events have historically garnered more attention than others.

1. Football 

The Premier League is the best in Europe, with millions of global supporters. Many people in the United Kingdom are passionate about football and spend their free time travelling and purchasing tickets to support their favorite clubs. In addition, some football fans enjoy sports betting, and the players take part in game prediction. 

The players have the option of looking at the team’s statistics. For instance, if a player wishes to wager on a game in which Arsenal is scheduled to participate, the player will examine Arsenal’s statistics and then make an informed wagering decision. As a result, many football enthusiasts in the United Kingdom and the volume of games played in the English League have contributed to football’s growth as the most popular betting sport.

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2. Tennis

Tennis is another popular sport for betting in the United Kingdom. The most popular tennis tournaments are Wimbledon, the US Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open. These events have increased the number of players wagering on tennis.

Because players can wager on sets while watching matches live, live betting has considerably expanded the number of tennis participants. In addition, tennis has grown in prominence as a betting sport due to high-profile athletes such as Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic.

3. Ice Hockey

Compared to some of the other sports on this list, ice hockey is a more recent addition. However, the demand has been increasing for some time, and fortunately, a bookmakers are responding. With wagers becoming available across numerous betting sites regularly and the general quality rising, an increasing number of folks around the country are getting in on the act and placing consistent bets as well as testing the waters. 

Today, you’ll find excellent odds and an increasing variety of wagering options. Among the most frequently used on ice hockey games are the following: 

  1. First period
  2. Moneyline
  3. Parlays
  4. Point spread

4. Horse-racing

While horse racing used to top this list comfortably, it now has to settle for third place. It has declined due to globalization and the increased availability of sports such as football and tennis. While the younger generation of punters appears to be losing interest in this activity, this does not indicate that horse racing has been abandoned altogether – on the contrary, and it is still going strong. 

Consider the fact that roughly 150 million pounds were wagered during the 2017 Cheltenham Festival alone. Additionally, other popular events, including the Epsom Derby, Royal Ascot, and the Grand National, continue to attract large wagers and a large crowd.

5. Basketball

As one of the United States’ favourite national sports, the NBA has also piqued the interest of many UK citizens who enjoy the occasional wager. Unfortunately, basketball’s popularity in Scotland has lagged behind the country’s obsession with American football in recent years. Still, an upward surge has been forecast, prompting the introduction of various bespoke betting guides on UK websites. Punters can wager on multiple outcomes, including the final score of a game, individual player performances, and the all-important MVP award.

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6. Football

Football is no longer viewed as a novelty sport compared to the more familiar football codes, and it continues to attract a large following among Scottish people. The existence of NFL betting guides online demonstrates the game’s popularity. However, a divide still exists between those in Scotland who understand and appreciate the game and those who have yet to catch on. The London-based games are more popular with the British public for obvious reasons, although the original US edition enjoys surprising popularity in this international market.

7. Golf

While golf is not as fast-paced as other popular betting themes, it does feature multiple big tournaments, has a sizable fan following in Scotland and has growth potential in the gambling world. In addition, as is the case with many other sports, golf betting is not restricted to simple outcomes such as wins and losses but allows bettors to wager on factors such as the winning margin and the likelihood of a hole-in-one. The difficulty is that golf, as an individual game played on an outside course with different terrain, is prone to abrupt changes in direction that might significantly influence the outcome. 


Scotland has embraced its national penchant for gambling with a list of online bookmakers, particularly in the domain of the simple sports wager, and these events are sure to continue to increase in popularity. So put, it’s an exciting time in the country, with plenty of money on the line for both players and those who want to play the odds.


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