World Cup Was Very Good for Regulated Russian Sports Betting
When Russia hosted the 2018 FIFA World Cup earlier this month, both its national soccer team and its local sports betting industry were able to enjoy some serious home field advantages. According to several published reports, regulated Russian bookmakers took in several billion dollars in wagers and wound up getting to keep a decent amount of that haul.
In a report published on Kommersant.ru, a group of Russian bookmakers acknowledge that the World Cup was very good for business. Their estimates suggest that the Russian sports betting industry took in somewhere between 200-250 billion RUB ($3-$4 billion USD) on the World Cup games. This estimate includes all regulated Russian bookmakers, as well as black and grey market operators.
According to the report, the bookmakers wound up keeping about 10 percent of that haul. This number is very impressive given the fact the home team put in a surprisingly good performance and advanced much further in the tournament than most had predicted.
To really understand how well Russian bookmakers did over the last month, it’s worth looking at how well other host countries have done in the past. French operators, for example, took in about a quarter of the handle that Russian sports betting operators saw when they hosted the World Cup. France has a population about half the size of Russia’s.
In relation to just a regular soccer season, World Cup was indeed a boon to Russian sports betting operators who claimed that business was nearly double what they’d usually see at this time of year.
While the World Cup success was a great short-term boost to the industry, the question now is what happens next? You don’t get a World Cup every month.