According to Barclays Plc analysts, a total of $35 billion will be wagered on the 2022 FIFA World Cup, showing a 65% increase on the previous edition after a surge in online gambling during the pandemic.
The jump in sports betting is expected to boost profits of Ladbrokes parent Entain, which Barclays says has more World Cup exposure than Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment, thanks to the former’s strong presence in both Europe and Latin America, reports Bloomberg.
According to analysts including James Rowland Clarke, 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 to past tournaments held in summer.
This gives an extra boost to the gambling industry, which has also benefited from the “stickiness” of growth generated during lockdowns, according to analysts.
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.
Entain’s wider European and Latin America exposure is seen as giving it an edge over Flutter, which has a more concentrated exposure to UK and Italy. Barclays rates the stock overweight and has an equal-weight recommendation on Flutter, raising revenue and earnings estimates for both, as reported by Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, wagering on the tournament in the US is expected to be relatively small, with Bloomberg Intelligence forecasting $1.7 billion of bets, 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, analysts cautioned that the cost-of-living crisis and the lead-up to Christmas could result in pressure on customers’ betting wallets.
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