December 1st, 2022: The World Cup is in full swing, and fans from different countries celebrate wins and players’ milestones. But there’s one more group celebrating the World Cup, the matches, and the players’ achievements: the bookmakers. According to Barclays Plc analysts, they expect a total of $35 billion or roughly £29 billion will be wagered on the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The figure represents a 65% increase on the previous edition of the World Cup, thanks primarily to the increase in the popularity of online gambling during the pandemic.
The Barclays team also expects a boost in profit for Entain Plc, the owner of Ladbrokes, which they identify as the bookmaker with more World Cup exposure compared to another operator, Flutter Entertainment Plc, Paddy Power’s operator.
Match schedule, results help boost the betting activity
Several factors help grow the betting audience for this year’s World Cup. The most crucial factor is the pandemic that changed many’s dynamics and lifestyle choices. Since physical and in-person visits to entertainment facilities are not allowed, many people turn to online casinos and other related sites to spend their leisure time. Since they spend more time at home, many see online betting as an exciting and entertaining activity. In addition, traditional casino players are left with no choice but to visit online casinos.
According to Barclays, it also helps that the football matches are plated at prime times for Europe during winter months. During this time, fewer people are on holiday; thus, they have more time to watch and follow the result of the games. In addition, the World Cup results are marginally operator-friendly so far. For example, many matches ended up in draws, which benefit the odds compilers since most bettors generally wager on one team winning.
Entain, Ladbrokes will likely benefit from the boost
Entain, the leading British gambling firm that operates Ladbrokes, is one of the top sportsbooks expected to benefit from World Cup betting. The company is betting on the World Cup to improve its fourth-quarter gaming revenue results, and it shared that the total gaming revenue for the third quarter rose slightly. Entain Plc, the operator of many popular UK betting brands, reported a 2% increase but remains unchanged on a constant currency basis.
Entain is expected to notch better results than its competitor, Flutter, thanks to its wider European and Latin America exposure. Flutter’s markets are focused on the UK and Italy.
US to bet $1.8 bn
Meanwhile, wagering on the World Cup among US bettors will reach up to $1.8 billion. This figure is relatively small compared to the $7.6 billion wagered on the Super Bowl and the $3.1 billion on the March Madness. Still, these are promising numbers and continue to increase as more states allow legal sports betting.