World Cup Scores Big for Online Gambling

This summer’s adrenaline-filled World Cup in Russia led to a surge in online betting — much of it via smartphones and tablet computers — and gambling operators enjoyed an explosion of interest among the British public, as they netted more than double what they did during the last global football extravaganza.

According to gambling industry figures seen by The Times newspaper, gambling firms raked in as much as £2.5 billion during the four-week festival of football, which occurs every four years and, this year, saw top teams crash out of the prestigious tournament early on to leave France to claim the title in a thrilling final on July 15 against minnows Croatia.

Last time around, when the World Cup was held in Brazil and Germany took home the trophy, Brits splashed out around £1 billion on the game. This summer’s contest, however, sent Britain into an “unprecedented betting frenzy”, The Times said, driven by early success for the England team that later petered out. There was also a huge surge in the number of women placing bets on World Cup teams, with around £500 million being wagered a week by men and women.

Fairer Play

Punters were also goaded into betting, and betting big, on this year’s World Cup by TV adverts run by betting firms. These operators, as well as those that run online casinos, will be subjected to stricter rules from the end of October, when the Gambling Commission’s new regulations come into force.

What it means is that any adverts produced by gambling firms must not be misleading — by glamorising gambling, for instance — or target young people. It’s aimed at ensuring the UK’s growing gambling sector is a fair and enjoyable place for the public to play and, hopefully, win at bets or by playing games. Many people do various forms of research before they decide to use the services of a particular gambling or casino site, including reading live casino reviews, which give them the kind of honest and reliable information they’re after.

The new rules also mean gambling firms must pay out, and in full, when someone wins — they will not be able to place restrictions on withdrawals. There will have to be better complaints procedures in place and all complaints will have to be properly dealt with within a period of eight weeks. It will also mean an end to gambling firms sending out spam emails and text messages to try and snare people to play.

Gambling on the Future

It’s not just the World Cup that is driving up online gambling’s fortunes either. Globally, there’s massive interest in placing bets online or using an online casino to play the various games available, including perennial favourites poker, blackjack and, of course, slot machines.

According to one new forecast, the global online gambling and betting sector will be worth a whopping $128.2 billion by 2026 and most of it is happening right here in Europe — where the sector is currently worth in the region of $23 billion. You’d think the United States would be big on gambling, given that it’s home to the globally renowned gambling mecca of Las Vegas, but online, it’s a different story: strict state rules governing online betting place the country as a whole behind the second-placed Asia-Pacific region in both bets placed and online games played.

That may all change in the US in the next few years, as more states relax their online gambling rules, the report predicts. But, in the meantime, it’s probably a safe bet to say that, by the time the next World Cup rolls around — Qatar in 2022, which, for the first time, is not being held in the summer, but between November and December to avoid the crippling mid-year heat of the parched Middle Eastern nation (when temperatures regularly creep above 40C) — the levels of online gambling and betting will be truly stratospheric.

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