Bookmakers expected to move up to US$ 35 billion during the World Cup
Photo: Lucas Figueiredo / CBF

A total of $35 billion will be wagered on the 2022 World Cup, up 65% from the previous edition following a boom in online betting during the pandemic, according to analysts at Barclays Plc.

Analysts expect the growth in betting to boost profits at Entain Plc, parent company of Ladbrokes, which Barclays says has more World Cup exposure than Flutter Entertainment Plc, owner of Paddy Power, thanks to the former brand’s strong presence in Europe and in Latin America.

Betting activity is being helped by matches played at prime time for Europe during the winter months when fewer people are on holiday compared to previous summer tournaments, analysts including James Rowland Clark noted in a note. This is giving an extra boost to the gaming industry, which has also benefited from the “permanence” of growth generated during the period of social restrictions.

What’s more, game results in Qatar so far have been “marginally operator-friendly”, noting that as of Friday noon there had been five games drawn, an outcome that usually benefits odds compilers, as that most bettors tend to bet on a team to win. Four other matches have ended in draws since then.

Entain’s broader exposure in Europe and Latin America is seen as an advantage over Flutter, which has more concentrated exposure in the UK and Italy. Meanwhile, betting on the tournament in the US is expected to be relatively small, with Bloomberg Intelligence predicting $1.7 billion in bets, just a fraction of the $7.6 billion wagered on the Super Bowl and $3. 1 billion in basketball March Madness, analyst Brian Egger wrote.

Brazil is still the big favourite. Photo: Lucas Figueiredo / CBF

World Cup final expected to generate up to $2.5 billion in bets

According to Barclays, which cited data from betting intelligence company H2 Gambling Capital, supporters of licensed bookmakers will bet around US$400 million on each match in the group stage of this World Cup, around US$1 billion per knockout game and up to $2.5 billion in the final. However, analysts warned that the cost of living crisis and the arrival of Christmas could put pressure on customers’ betting portfolios.