The whole of England was thrown into a frenzy this world cup thanks to Gareth Southgate’s new England team surprising everyone and surpassing expectations, no matter where you were or what you were doing during the world cup this year three words rung out constantly as a battle-cry of sorts through the streets of England - It’s coming home!
This frenzy was also expressed greatly through the insane amount of money the United Kingdom wagered on the world cup as a whole. As a country with quite a fair amount of betting premises, 8,532 to be exact, it’s no wonder we amassed such a large number of bets during this year’s world cup and it’s all thanks to England managing to arrive in the semi-finals for the first time in 28 long years bolstering the English public’s belief in their team and pushing people into supporting their team by placing money on their long hoped for victory, although not all of the bets would be for England to win but rather for their own home team!
Why do people love betting on sports?
People bet on sports for a number of different reasons whether it be for money, because they believe they know the outcome of a certain game or just for a bit of harmless fun. In fact, a 2017 study into gambling behaviour and attitudes from the UK gambling commission shows that the top 3 reasons for people to gamble are, to win (46%), for fun (34%) or to change their life with a big win (19%).
The history of betting on football has been quite a long one starting from the first Little Woods pool betting kiosk outside of Old Trafford the English public seem to have ingrained betting on football, whether it is professional teams or not, into the culture. With 8,532 betting premises in Great Britain as of this post it is not hard to find a betting shop to place your money on anything from horses to football. Although recently fixed odds betting terminals have been hit with a regulation causing them to only be able to accept £2 maximum stakes, down from the £100 stake you could place before the regulation. This itself seems to push people towards betting on-line rather than in their local book makers due to worries that this regulation will pave the way for a reform on gambling laws in the United Kingdom hurting both the online/offline gambling industry and the United Kingdom economy as a whole.
How does the atmosphere affect the UK’s gambling?
The electric atmosphere in England was unlike anything we’ve experienced for a very long time. All the England fans were showing their support by donning the strip, pubs and bars were packed to the brim and The Lightning Seeds 1996 UK Hit “Three Lions” was on an almost non-stop loop around every major town in England, combine this with the biggest viewing figures since the 2012 Olympics its sure to be a year everyone will remember and look back on fondly by the time the next world cup comes around.
Due to England’s success at reaching the semi-final for the first time in 28 years you can believe the expectation that they were going to go all the way was as high as the amount of money the UK bet on the world cup itself, rising to the insane height of £1.5 billion! This number completely dwarfs Italy’s £466 million and France’s £366 million totals combined! Open bet themselves actually processed a whopping 177 million bets during the world cup with 6.5 million bets being on the semi-finals of England vs Croatia and France vs Belgium while the final itself took in more in-play bets than the FA cup and the Champions League finals combined!
The CEO of open bet recently released a statement in regard to the world cup and the number of bets being placed saying “The World Cup is an undeniably popular event with global impact, and we’re glad to see our partners perform so well. Factors such as a favourable time zone, own nation’s participation and some of the favourites being beaten out early on have led to a great success story with our European customers, with some seeing peaks over 200% as compared to a normal Premier League Saturday.” These astronomical numbers may be caused by the easy access of betting shops on England’s high streets and town centres along with the arrival of online betting on mobile devices and computers giving the bettor an easier way to pay using credit cards for their payments, allowing you to bet any amount of money with just a few clicks giving an easier and more streamlined way to bet.
Overall the large £1.5bn splurge the united kingdom had on world cup bets could prove to be a boon rather than a curse as large sums of money such as these could boost the economy and help charitable organizations raise money for their cause. For example paddy power donated £10,000 to LGBT charities for every goal Russia scored to fight back against the 2013 anti-LGBT laws put in place to ban “gay propaganda” in Russia raising £50,000 for some great causes.
Other than the great boon to the economy the £1.5bn will help betting companies soften the blow from the recent regulations brought in lowering fixed odds betting terminal’s maximum bet per play from £100 to £2 causing many betting shops to lose a lot of money as it was almost half of their single property income. Despite carrying the negative connotations of lowering the maximum bet for betting premises it does have a chance to help problem gamblers by not allowing them to bet as quickly as they could when you could bet a full £100 with a click of a button, allowing them to seek help and help people bet safer.