Worldpay Says England Sportsbooks Took 7,000 Payments per Minute During World Cup Opener

  • The FIFA World Cup in Qatar kicked off Sunday morning with Ecuador-Qatar
  • England sportsbooks took 7,000 payments per minute before the first match
  • Betting turnout could be tied to how far England makes it in the tournament
  • Operators took nearly 10,000 payments per minute during the 2020 Euros
World Cup trophy in front of England's flag
Worldpay predicts that betting handle at UK sportsbooks will be up 15% compared to the 2020 UEFA Euros. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Historic turnout

As the England national team celebrates a lopsided victory in its opening match of the FIFA World Cup, bettors back home are flocking to sportsbooks.

sports betting industry can expect a 15% increase in participation

According to payment provider Worldpay, the sports betting industry can expect a 15% increase in participation compared to the 2020 European Championships, which actually took place in the middle of 2021 after being delayed by COVID lockdowns. 

The World Cup has already had its fair share of headline-worthy events, whether that be several national team captains campaigning to wear pro-LGBTQ armbands, injuries to high-profile superstars, or two British visitors ending a late-night drink crawl playing with exotic animals at a sheikh’s mansion. As the excitement around the tournament continues to grow, bettors will be even more likely to call up their local bookies in what should be a record-setting time.

Worldpay warns of “time” variable

Sports betting across the globe is more popular in areas directly represented by a player or team which is why, as Worldpay noted, money coming out of England is likely to multiply the further that the Three Lions progress in the tournament. 

7,000 payments per minute during the lead-up to the first match

Even though most of the teams have not even played a game yet, there has already been an incredibly high turnout for bettors. Alex Morgan-Moodie, gaming vertical lead senior director at Worldpay, said that operators received roughly 7,000 payments per minute during the lead-up to the first match between Ecuador and the host nation, Qatar. 

Morgan-Moodie also believes that the time of the matches could provide an interesting dynamic for bettors moving forward. Qatar is three hours ahead of England, meaning that many games will take place during regular working hours and inherently block a majority of transactions from regular bettors. 

At the same time, matches that take place during leisure hours – even ones that would generally draw less interest – could be hot commodities as gamblers look to get their fix after missing out on marquee matches. However, many of the late-day matches, whether on purpose or not, are the most intriguing of the day throughout the group stage.

Sportsbooks capitalize off the World Cup

If English bettors want to beat their showing at the 2020 Euros, they will need to register more than 10,000 payments per minute, a total that was recorded shortly before the semifinal match between England and Denmark. England ended up winning 2-1 but fell to Italy on penalty kicks in the final.

There is no doubt that there is great interest in the World Cup. In America, an estimated 50% of sports fans are expected to bet on the competition, which for many will mark their first time betting on soccer. Games are also expected to reach at least 20.5 million viewers.

sportsbooks could be in for a profitable few weeks

If betting numbers are tied to England’s performance in the tournament, then sportsbooks could be in for a profitable few weeks. Argentina captain and arguably the greatest player ever, Lionel Messi, said that England, Brazil, and France were “a little bit above the rest.”

England is also tied with Spain and France in the latest odds to win the World Cup, behind Brazil and Argentina. They already won their opening match of the tournament against Iran 6-2 and are favored to beat both Wales and the USA in their next two matches.