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World Cup Betting Boom Rattles Gaming Industry

[20th May 2010] With the World Cup now less than a month away it's an odds on certainty that bookmakers everywhere are already rubbing their hands together in anticipation. This year's football bonanza in South Africa looks destined to be the biggest sports betting event the world has yet seen but, whilst this is obviously great news for a sports betting industry still reeling from the effects of the global economic crisis, what does it mean for the wider gaming industry? A spokesperson for is worried that people who usually play blackjack games to get their online gaming fix might instead be tempted into a World Cup flutter.

There is speculation that, with much of this World Cup betting boom likely to take place online as opposed to a traditional betting shop, other areas of the online gaming sector may suffer as a direct consequence. It will certainly be interesting to see how such a pronounced spike in interest in one area of the gaming industry affects the fortunes of other areas such as online bingo and casino games.

According to Michael Charalambous, Director of, this is likely to depend on whether the established patrons of online casino games such as blackjack or poker turn out to be the same surfers bookies are counting on to fill their coffers during the World Cup this summer.

"It seems very possible that a significant proportion of what is predicted to be a massively increased World Cup betting market will come from a demographic that is likely to regularly frequent online games such as poker or blackjack. It is therefore not hard to imagine that potential gaming revenue could end up getting redirected into football betting during June and July."

Charalambous pinpoints so called 'laptop loungers', who browse the internet while watching TV, as key to this equation. It is this web savvy demographic that is set to contribute to massive rise in World Cup betting - some are predicting a 700% rise on the previous World Cup - and might equally make it a difficult month for other areas of the gaming sector.

"It remains to be seen whether increased interest in betting during the World Cup will steer valued customers away from other online gaming activities but personally I wouldn't be surprised to see a 30% drop. The onus will certainly be on gaming companies to keep punters interested over the course of the competition."

Michael Charalambous
17 Hobart Road,
Phone: (+44) 7725343456

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