Argentina’s victory over France in the World Cup final emerged as the second most popular sports match of the year for bettors in the US, according to data unveiled Tuesday by geolocation and fraud specialist GeoComply.
World soccer’s showpiece attracted 7.9 million geolocation transactions, the company says. While the figure is far behind the Superbowl’s 23.5 million, it is well ahead of the 4.8 million transactions of the NCAA March Madness Final and the final game of the NBA season, which attracted 5.1 million geolocation checks.
Sam Basile, GeoComply VP of Business Development for North American Gaming, commented: “They say Americans don’t like soccer, but they certainly got a kick out of betting on the World Cup. GeoComply’s data disproves the myth that Americans are not interested in The Beautiful Game.”
The 1.7 million active users betting on the World Cup final was the second highest of showcase finals, after the Superbowl’s 3.1 million, but well ahead of the two basketball finals and the NHL Stanley Cup final.
It should be noted this is the first FIFA World Cup with regulated online sports betting available in the US, following the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018. The historic move gave Americans the opportunity to bet online with legal, regulated operators rather than unregulated offshore bookmakers.
Betting patterns within games largely mirrored those of NFL and NBA games, which generally record just over four bets per user – the same as during the World Cup. A look at the betting patterns around the World Cup Final reveals spikes in activity around each goal, at the beginning of Extra Time and during Penalties.
It is also the first World Cup featuring both the USA and Canada teams, which probably boosted North American betting – the two nations will also host the next World Cup with Mexico in 2026. The Canadian province of Ontario, much like the US, enjoyed its first World Cup with legal betting after regulating its market earlier this year.
“Qatar 2022 did a great job of generating interest in soccer in North America, with around 1 million new accounts created during the tournament,” notes GeoComply. Other statistics are also encouraging: the USA-England match in the group stages drew over 15.3 million viewers, making it the most-watched men’s soccer match ever on English-language TV in America.
The popularity of the World Cup among sports betting fans has also been documented by OpenBet, which earlier this week announced its customers processed more than 200 million bets across all channels during the tournament, with more than $2 billion wagered. The betting activity demonstrated a 13% increase in bets compared to the 2018 World Cup.
The 2022 World Cup has been marked by a high level of engagement, with practically every region of the world represented for the majority of the tournament. This was reflected in record viewing figures, with FIFA estimating that more than 1.5 billion people, 20% of the world’s population, watched the final.