Real Madrid leads as most popular team in betting
Premier League pays out highest winnings
Over 11x more bets on the Saudi Pro League after Ronaldo’s transfer
2023 was a year of many ‘firsts’. For the first time ever, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo played club football outside Europe. Manchester City won its first and long-awaited Champions League trophy. Fluminense took its first taste of a Copa Libertadores triumph. The Spanish national team won its first World Cup in women’s football. And in the NBA, the Denver Nuggets secured its first NBA championship.
Kaizen Gaming, one of the biggest gametech companies in the world, sheds a different light on the events, teams and stories that stole the show in 2023 through data gathered from its sports betting platforms, Betano and Stoiximan, from 13 countries across four continents.
Across all markets, Premier League fixtures and Champions League matches featuring English clubs proved popular among bettors, as did local teams. Various Manchester City fixtures were in the top five betting events across many regions including its June match against Inter Milan in Greece, Cyprus and Czechia and its February RB Leipzig and its May Real Madrid matches in Bulgaria. Similarly, the Citizens’ December match against Everton and November game against Chelsea ranked as two of the top betting choices among Nigerian punters.
In Germany, most bets were placed on November’s match between FC Bayern Munchen and FC Copenhagen followed by November’s FSV Mainz 05 versus RB Leipzig game. In Brazil, November’s Flamengo RJ versus Palmeiras SP came out ahead.
Two Bizarre Stories from Liverpool
On May 28 in Southampton versus Liverpool, Betano and Stoiximan players were paid out regardless of the result they had bet on for two reasons: a special Kaizen Gaming offer paying players when the team they bet on gets a two-goal lead and a crazy scoreboard that saw both teams getting such a lead and ended in a 4-4 draw.
On September 30 in Tottenham vs Liverpool (2-1), a clearly wrong VAR call led to the cancellation of a goal by Luis Diaz as offside. Nonetheless, Kaizen Gaming decided to reward the players who placed a bet on Luis Diaz to score.
What else stood out from a gaming perspective in all markets where Kaizen operates?
Real Madrid Reigns Supreme
In 2023, Real Madrid didn’t manage to defend its 2022 Champions League and La Liga titles. Still, the Copa del Rey winners were the most popular team among bettors. The team that won it all, Manchester City, just fell short this time, being the second most betted club with Liverpool in third place.
In basketball, even though the Miami Heat lost the NBA finals to the Denver Nuggets, it was ‘crowned’ the most popular team in betting with its rivals in second place. The Milwaukee Bucks, starring Betano global ambassador Giannis Antetokounmpo, came third.
A Truly Celebratory Boxing Day
Boxing Day’s Premier League matches seemed to be the best time to bet in 2023. That day’s match between Everton and Manchester City (1-3) shared the most winnings to Kaizen’s customers in 2023. Placed second was Chelsea versus Crystal Palace (2-1) for the same Premier League fixture on December 27. Ranked third was Liverpool versus Real Madrid (2-5) for the Champions League Round of 16.
As for the matches where players placed the most bets, in Europe the winner is the second leg Champions League quarter final 1-1 draw between Napoli and AC Milan. Surprisingly, the Champions League final between Manchester City and Inter (1-0) was just third. In South America, the most popular match was Cruzeiro versus Palmeiras (1-1) in the last fixture of the Brazilian Serie A, where Palmeiras were crowned Brazilian champions.
The Ronaldo and Messi Effect
After Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer to Al Nassr, a lot of top names such as Neymar, Benzema and Kante, decided to make the move to the Saudi Pro League in what journalists and fans describe as ‘the Ronaldo Effect’. ‘The Ronaldo Effect’ extends to betting too, as his transfer increased bettors’ interest in the league by more than 1,000%. As for Messi’s transfer to Inter Miami, 25% of all Inter Miami relevant bets are on ‘Messi to score’.
2024 a Thrilling Year in Sports
At the end of 2023, Kaizen Gaming announced that its Betano brand has signed on as an Official Global Sponsor of UEFA Euro 2024 with its Stoiximan brand serving as official sponsor of the upcoming Euro for Greece and Cyprus. With the Paris Olympic Games and other major sporting events like Copa America and Africa Cup of Nations, 2024 is set out to be an all around thrilling year in sports gaming.