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Australian bookmakers enjoying a surge in NFL betting

Steve Shoup

Australian bookmakers are enjoying something of a boom when it comes to betting on NFL and American Football, and the multi-million dollar business should grow further still in 2017 and beyond. That is the verdict of some of the biggest betting agencies in Australia.


The 2015/16 NFL season was the biggest yet in Australia, in no small part down to the presence of former NRL star Jarryd Hayne on the San Francisco 49ers roster. Ultimately, Hayne’s NFL dream didn’t end in success and he is now back where in all started playing rugby league.


But the Hayne Plane’s journey stateside was an incredibly popular one when it comes to Australian bettors. With another Australian Jordan Berry, the Pittsburgh Steelers punter, almost going all the way to the Super Bowl, it is no wonder bookmakers enjoyed such a spike in NFL betting last season.


Behind horse racing and the Australian staple sports, NFL is now big business. “It was the eighth highest turnover sport for us last year,” according the country’s biggest bookmaker Sportsbet. TopBetta, another brand that has seen interest in NFL grow rapidly over recent years, have it in the “top 3 of sports in the six months that it hits our screens, in both turnover and actual bets placed”.


The Super Bowl alone accounted for $2.5 million (AUD) wagered at Sportsbet across a staggering 420 markets for the New England Patriots’ victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Palmerbet’s Super Bowl figures, meanwhile, make it “one of the top tier sporting events of the year” and “equivalent to the NRL & AFL Grand Finals” (two of the biggest events in Australia).


Was the explosion in NFL betting down to the Hayne factor? No, it just heightened a growth area. “NFL interest in Australia spiked when Jarryd Hayne was with the 49ers, but it has become increasingly popular over the last few years with increased media coverage and televised games”, Sportsbet say.


It is the Thursday night, Sunday night and Monday night football fixtures that do best. The kick off times are as friendly as you can get when it comes to being an NFL fan in Australia. They start between mid-morning to lunchtime, are televised live, and work out much better for bookmakers than late European soccer games do because of the time difference.


While NFL still ranks behind the English Premier League soccer as well as Australia’s major sports, note that “the year on year growth of NFL is the highest of our sports” and stated “we’ve seen a steady increase in NFL betting over the last few years and believe 2018 will be a big year”. And there is no reason why that should change either with the popularity of multibets and parlays a significant contributing factor.


“As long as the coverage keeps increasing here in Australia, and more Australian sports stars look to head over to try out for NFL, we will see the popularity grow,” Palmerbet predict. “It’s a big growth market along with NBA.”


TopBetta, meanwhile, predict this year will be the biggest yet – even without the Hayne factor. “NFL betting is continually growing,” they say. “And this year we anticipate the biggest turnover yet”.



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