Online Sports Betting Companies Will Increase Exposure Due to Qatar World Cup

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World Cup fans gather at Times Square to watch the U.S. match against England in New York City. David Dee Delgado/Getty Images/AFP.

Although soccer barely moves the needle in the United States, it is a worldwide phenomenon and it doesn’t get any bigger than the FIFA World Cup.

Now, with online sports betting so prevalent, the billions of dollars wagered domestically, and throughout the world, will bring even greater exposure to the world of retail and mobile sports wagering.

Soccer Betting to Give Mobile Operators a Kick

Call it fútbol, football, or soccer, the “Beautiful Game” is front and center as the World Cup tournament dominates headlines everywhere but in the United States. And even here, the U.S. World Cup Men’s Team is generating considerable interest, although American football is king, and in full swing, along with the NBA and NHL, stealing much of the spotlight.

But the bookmakers have to be pleased with the deluge of World Cup betting they have been seeing. Reports are that $35 billion will be wagered on the World Cup and the fact that the U.S. men’s team has made the cut, unlike in 2018, is a blessing for the American online operators who are seeing an uptick in World Cup betting from 4 years ago when the legal, U.S. online sports betting industry was in its infancy.

Incidentally, New Jersey governor, Phil Murphy, made the state’s first legal bet, a $20 wager on Germany to win the 2018 World Cup. Ultimately it proved to be a losing bet as France defeated Croatia, 4-2, to win the tournament.

Chad Beynon, an analyst for Macquarie, an Australian global financial services group, wrote, “In terms of betting through licensed sportsbooks, H2 Gambling Capital forecasts that ~$35 billion will be wagered on the tournament, an increase of 65% over their estimate of ~$21 billion generated on the 2018 World Cup, based on an average $400 million being bet on each group stage match.”

What’s It Mean to American Bookmakers?

The online betting platforms are blitzing the market with World Cup promotions, attracting demographics that would normally not be interested in mobile wagering but are suddenly taking notice. Expanding their customer base and gaining worldwide publicity is nothing but good news for online sportsbooks, regardless of how much money they make when the tournament concludes.

The Macquarie analyst said, “Flagship events/tournaments such as the World Cup drive broad engagement and draw in first-time and infrequent players, similar to how large jackpots increase lottery to play. While the total 2022 World Cup wagering tally will ultimately hinge on the performance of certain countries in the tournament, we believe this will be a positive branding, engagement, and user acquisition event for operators.

Unfortunately, those online betting sites operating in the States have 2 strikes against them. First and foremost, the World Cup, normally played in the summer months when only Major League Baseball fills the sports betting void, has been shifted to the height of the NFL season with the NBA and NHL also in the early portion of their seasons. This detracts from bettors using the World Cup as a substitute for their gambling fix.

Secondly, the U.S. team is a long shot to advance but a win over Iran on Tuesday would send them to the knockout round. Nevertheless, it would be an upset of epic proportions if the USA could win the tournament which means the likelihood is that they will be long gone before the finals match occurs, greatly cooling any World Cup fever for bandwagon fans.

“Bookmakers have posted Brazil, Argentina, and defending champion France as the top three favorites, with odds of 3/1, 5.5/1, and 7.5/1, respectively. England, Spain, and Germany are the next three, with the US sitting at 18th, between Mexico and Poland,” said Beynon.