Qatar’s World Cup Dispenses a $35 Billion Betting Boon for Bookies

This year’s tournament is the first global sporting event to occur since the lifting of restrictions on US sports wagers

According to Barclays, which cited data from betting intelligence firm H2 Gambling Capital, customers of licensed bookmakers will stake about $400 million on each group match played at this World Cup.
By Joe Easton
November 28, 2022 | 11:25 AM

Bloomberg — A total of $35 billion will be wagered on the 2022 FIFA World Cup, representing a 65% increase on the 2018 tournament after interest in online gambling surged during the pandemic, according to data cited in a note by Barclays Plc analysts.

Betting activity is being helped by matches being played at prime times for Europe during winter months when fewer people are away on holiday compared with past tournaments held in summer, analysts including James Rowland Clark wrote in a note. That’s giving an extra boost to the gambling industry, which has also benefited from “stickiness” of growth seen during lockdowns, they said.

Match results in Qatar so far have been “marginally operator-friendly,” the bank said, noting that as of midday Friday there had been five tied games, an outcome that generally benefits odds compilers as most bettors tend to wager on one team winning. A further four fixtures have ended in a draw since then.

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This year’s tournament is the first global sporting event to occur since the lifting of restrictions on US sports wagers, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. BI forecasts $1.7 billion of bets from the US, though that’s just a fraction of the $7.6 billion wagered on the Super Bowl and $3.1 billion on NCAA basketball’s March Madness, wrote analyst Brian Egger.

According to Barclays, which cited data from betting intelligence firm H2 Gambling Capital, customers of licensed bookmakers will stake about $400 million on each group match played at this World Cup, about $1 billion per knockout game and up to $2.5 billion on the final. However, the analysts cautioned that the cost-of-living crisis and the lead up to Christmas could result in pressure on customers’ betting wallets.

Barclays has an overweight rating on Ladbrokes parent Entain Plc, which it says has more World Cup exposure than Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment Plc, thanks to the former’s strong presence in both Europe and Latin America.

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