French Sports Bettors Wagered €690m on 2018 World Cup
French sports bettors wagered a record €690 million during the 2018 World Cup, which is more than twice the amount wagered (€290 million) on the 2014 World Cup. ARJEL said €381 million was wagered at 12 locally licensed online sportsbooks.
ARJEL reported that another €309 million was wagered at the Francaise des Jeux’s (FDJ) 27,000 points of sale. For its part, the FDJ claimed €333 million in turnover from its combined land-based and online World Cup betting sites.
More than half of the cash was wagered on the group stage of play (€363 million), when all teams were remaining and 75% of the matches took place. Another €310 million was wagered during the knockout stage of the tournament.
The remaining €17 million of betting stakes went to various proposition wagers, such as the top scorer in the tournament and which national team would win the World Cup.
What French Bettors Wagered On
The final between France and Croatia had the largest betting handle, with €67.2 million wagered on the World Cup’s final match. Coming in a distant second was France’s semifinal match with Belgium, which netted €35.2 million in turnover.
As one might expect, over 25% of French sports bettors‘ wagers (€180 million) were placed on the 7 games in which the French National Team took part. Given the general optimism about the French squad’s chances, one can assume that much of that cash was spent backing the French team. ARJEL did not release such figures, though.
FDJ Potential Buyout
French leaders continue to prepare to sell the state-run monopoly, Francaise des Jeux, to the highest bidder. The frontrunner to win the bidding is Camelot, the UK National Lottery operator. To increase the value of the FDJ, its executives are signing corporate deals with top French football clubs.
FDJ Sponsorship Deals
In the past week, the FDJ signed corporate sponsorships with FC Nantes, AS Monaco, Olympique Lyonnais, and Olympique de Marseille. Each one of the deals is worth four years and begin in the 2018-2019 season. Previously, the FDJ had a deal with Ligue de Football Professionnel.
As terms of the sponsorships, the FDJ’s logo will be located at strategic points throughout all four clubs’ stadiums. Also, logos and player images from the four clubs will be found at FDJ point-of-sale locations and on its online website. Club jerseys are not included in the deals.
Russia World Cup Bets
According to Russian sports betting operators, Russian wagers far exceeded French World Cups bets. Kommersant quoted local bookies saying that their sports betting handle was between €2.7 billion to €3.3 billion, if one counted licensed operators and black market operators.
The list of top licensed betting operators in Russia includes Liga Stavok, Olympus, and Bingo Boom. The Federal Tax Service added GoldenBet LLC to its list of approved sportsbooks earlier this month, so presumably GoldenBet handled legal bets in the last phases of the World Cup.
Russia’s population is 140 million, while France has a population of 66.9 million. Of course, France’s GDP is $2.465 trillion, while Russia’s GDP is $1.283 trillion. One might expect France to have a larger sports betting handle, though ARJEL and the FDJ do not publish an estimate on illegal sports betting figures, so presumably that number would be much higher.
Russia’s National Team Boosted Betting
Of course, while France went to the World Cup final and was a big favorite in the match, Russia hosted the event. Because of the added media attention and boosted tourism due to the influx of World Cup fans, Russian sports betting operators‘ totals likely were at an all-time high. Most commentators felt that the 2018 Russian World Cup was one of the most successful tournaments in history, due to the overall competitiveness of the event and several dynamic, unpredictable results in the high-profile matches.
It certainly helped that Russia reached the quarterfinals, which was a huge surprise. While most World Cup hosts do well, Russia outperformed expectations. Group A was the weakest of all groups, which is how FIFA sets up the brackets. Russia is not considered one of the top teams in the world, but it was included in the list of powerhouses when drawing groups randomly. That meant that one less powerhouse club fell into Group A, giving Team Russia a good chance to advance.
More surprisingly was Russia’s performance in the Round of 16. Despite being one of the biggest underdogs in World Cup history, Russia took Spain to penalty shots and won in the shootout.