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Kicking Down the £1 Billion Barrier

27 July 2006

All indications seem to be that the World Cup 2006 generated more wagering than any other event in history, with total global wagering thought to be in the nearly US$2 billion. The early eliminations of favorites England and Brazil insured that a great deal of the cash flow remained in the hands of bookmakers.

Said Graham Sharpe, a spokesperson for British bookmaker William Hill, "The World Cup has been the biggest betting event the world has ever seen, with the industry comfortably breaching the £1 billion turnover barrier for the first time."

Prior to the tournament's concluding match between Italy and France on July 9, Sharpe stated, "Italy and France were comparatively un-fancied by serious gamblers; we offered 50/1 about them contesting the final at the start of the tournament. And with the serious gamblers backing Brazil, patriotic punters pouring cash on England and too many favorites coming out on top during the early stages of the World Cup, we are guaranteed to make a profit, regardless of the identity of the ultimate winners."

William Hill says its bettors collectively wagered an average of £350 per second on the World Cup, more than £20,000 per minute, almost £1.5 million per hour, and over £30 million per day on betting propositions that were not just limited to the winner of the tournament or individual games but also included halftime scores, top goal scorers, the number of yellow and red cards and even David Beckham's haircut.

Bookmakers all over world cashed in on the World Cup craze. Greek press reports indicate that Greek lottery and sports betting operator OPAP received 450 million euro (US$573 million) in bets through its fixed-odds Stihima game during the tournament. The company was expected to receive between 200 million euro ($255 million) and 250 million euro ($318 million). The stronger-than-anticipated performance is likely to translate into a 6 percent increase in earnings per share for OPAP.

The Prague Daily Monitor reports that residents of the Czech Republic spent over CZK 1.5 billion ($67 million) on World Cup wagering with the country's licensed bookmakers. Fortuna received the largest amount of bets, CZK 700 million ($31 million), while Tipsport received CZK 500 million ($22 million), Chance and Sazka received about CZK 100 million ($4.5 million) and Synot Tip and Victoria Tip received about CZK 50 million ($2.2 million). Betting over the Internet is illegal in the Czech Republic, but it is thought that as much as CZK 225 million ($10 million) may have been wagered online by Czech residents. Czech betting numbers would have been even higher if the team had progressed further in the tournament.

The New Zealand TAB has reported turnover of AU$21.6 million ($16.5 million) on the World Cup, which is actually slightly less that the amount it received in betting on the tournament in 2002. The TAB blames the weaker results on less favorable betting hours at its shop. Overall the TAB took more than 1 million bets.

Australian betting firm Centrebet, which recently floated shares on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange, reported a record month of June in which it attracted 5,900 new customers. Betfair Australia also reported an increases in client acquisition and betting activity this month. The company's director of corporate and business affairs, Andrew Twaits, stated, "We certainly saw an uplift during the World Cup, but not just last month; it's been steadily growing. It's also been across the whole business and over a number of sporting events. But I think tournaments like this make people more aware of betting on sport."

Kicking Down the £1 Billion Barrier is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Bradley Vallerius

Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com
Bradley Vallerius
Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com