Unique Sports You Didn’t Know You Could Wager On

Sports betting has origins that date back to around 700 BC in Greece, which is not surprising. As we’re reported here at Pensacola before, from sports to environmentalism, the country in the Balkans has always been one step ahead of the game. And when it comes to sports betting, archaeological evidence has suggested there was a considerable amount of wagering occurring during the ancient Olympics Games in Greece, where most events were cardiovascular activities like running and boxing.

Spectators also wagered on equestrian events at the ancient Olympic Games, a reality that foreshadowed the dominance of horse race betting in countries like the United Kingdom in the early 1600s.

Since then, betting on other sports like football, soccer, and tennis has become a global phenomenon; their popularity has led many analysts to believe the worldwide sports betting market will now reach $140.26 billion by 2028. That said, it is not just horse racing, football, soccer, or tennis dominating the online sports betting market. In fact, there are several unique sports available on online sportsbooks. We are going to explore a few of them in this article.

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Unique Sports To Bet On

Over the last ten years, online betting on sports has never been easier. Bettors get access to some of the world’s most popular sports and competitions through online sportsbooks, including international tournaments like UEFA Champions League and Britain’s pride and joy, Wimbledon.

As the online betting market has grown in popularity, sportsbooks like William have increased their appeal to audiences by offering various promotions for in-play betting, such as doubling and building your own odds. In addition, they have begun offering an eclectic and comprehensive range of new sports to wager on, including niche sports like bowls.

Evidently, offering niche sports options for bettors is a massively successful move as it provides an inclusive online space and truly attempts to cater to everyone’s interests. With that in mind, here are a few examples of some of the most quirky sports out there.

1. Bowls


The game of bowls has origins dating back to England in the 13th century, and it is a variant of Italian Bocce. The game is played on either a flat or convex bowling green, and the aim of the sport is to roll biased balls and get them to stop near a “kitty” or “jack.” A kitty or jack is a smaller ball. Balls that fall into the ditch are removed from play, except if one touches the kitty or jack.

Bowls has several playing variations, and the scoring systems depend on the competition. The top-ranked players in the world include Les Gillett and Paul Foster MBE. The two bowls players versed each other in this year’s Just World Indoor Bowls Championship in January, and England’s Les Gillett won the open singles event.

2. Futsal

Similar to bowls, futsal is another relatively niche sport that online sportsbooks have started to make available to bettors. Futsal is a game that has similarities to indoor soccer and five-a-side soccer, as it is played on an indoor hard court, and each team has five players, including a goalkeeper. However, unlike traditional soccer, futsal allows for unlimited substitutions.

The soccer-based game has Uruguayan roots, and futsal players are best known for their technique and creativity. Interestingly, according to Futsal, many famous soccer players began their careers by playing futsal. Players like Andrés Iniesta, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Figo, and Neymar Jr. have all credited the game for helping them develop a range of skills during their formative years.

3. Hurling


Hurling is a sport of Irish origin, and it shares many similarities with Gaelic football. These similarities include the number of players. The objective of hurling is for players to use an ash wood stick (a “hurley”) to hit a small ball between their opponents’ goalposts. There are many rules to hurling, such as players cannot carry the ball for more than four steps.

If a player wants to go over four steps, they have to bounce or balance the ball on the end of the hurley stick. Hurling is one of the world’s oldest field games, and it is often referenced in early Irish literature and folklore, including Táin Bo Cuailgne, otherwise known as The Cattle Raid of Cooley.

4. eSports


eSports have become mainstream over the past five years, but wagering on them is still a relatively new trend that has the potential to disrupt the sports betting industry in the coming years. This is because eSports offer advanced in-play betting and more accurate odds in real-time due to its digital nature. In other words, because eSports run on machines, the concept of machine learning can play an important role in the accuracy of odds moving forward.

eSports, otherwise known as electronic sports, is a form of competition that uses video games. eSports competitions tend to be multiplayer, with the most common genres ranging from battle royale, real-time strategy, and first-person shooter games. Famous eSports players include Faker and Peter Dager, who won the TI5 championship tournament in 2015 as player-captain for the Evil Geniuses. The team won over $6 million as a result.

5. Bandy


Bandy is a winter and ball sport that was first played in 1882. The game bears many similarities to field hockey and ice hockey as two teams compete on a large ice surface while wearing ice skates and using curved sticks to shoot a ball into their opponents’ goal. However, bandy also resembles soccer, as teams are composed of 11 players, and games typically consist of two 45 minute halves.

Bandy is a growing sport around the world. However, its popularity is still primarily concentrated in Russia and Sweden. Today, there are many famous bandy players, such as David Karlsson, but it is widely regarded that Sergei Lomanov is the world’s greatest player. He is known for his skating speed, and Lomanov was the former team captain of Russia. He also lit the fire at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Winter Universiade, a multi-sport event for youth athletes.

Through technological innovations like in-play betting, real-time data, and machine learning, online sportsbooks have become far more advanced, which is why online sports betting has become one of the most popular gambling activities in recent years. However, many assume that you can only wager on traditional sports, such as horse racing, football, and soccer. In reality, there are several niche sports to bet on, and bowls, futsal, hurling, eSports, and bandy are only the tip of the iceberg.