Eurovision betting is one of the more popular novelty markets for punters to wager on. There are odds on a number of outcomes, and the fact that the contest is broadcast to hundreds of millions of TV viewers and is also streamed live on the Internet also increases betting interest. The music featured in the Eurovision song contest can often peel paint. The contest will always be associated with ABBA, who won it in 1974 as their first big break. Since then very few quality acts have emerged from Eurovision. Celine Dion won the contest in 1988 for Switzerland so one can blame the contest for that cultural lapse as well.
The first Eurovision contest was held in 1956. Seven countries competed and each was allowed two entries. Mercifully, since then countries can only submit one entry each saving punters from the torment of two songs by Macedonia or Latvia.
There are now so many countries in Europe that wish to participate that it has become necessary to introduce two semi-finals, although six nations are assured of participating in the final: the UK, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, and the host nation for that year. Ireland did not receive a bye to the final, possibly because they submitted Riverdance as their 1994 interval act.
Eurovision betting markets now include various outright prop bets on each participating country, such as odds to finish in the Top 10, and in some cases odds to qualify for the final. Once the final lineup has been established for three hours of TV entertainment that has included such luminary performers as Bucks Fizz and Katrina and the Waves, punters can wager on the Top 4 and the final points tally for the winning country.
The main Eurovision betting market is of course on the outright winning country. Note that Ireland has the most wins in history with seven, including three wins in a row from 1992-94. The UK, France, and Luxembourg are all tied on five victories apiece.
The Eurovision Final is usually held on a Saturday night in May.