They think it’s all over. But for the next few days, it actually isn’t.
For the first time in 55 years, a traditionally underwhelmed football nation lives in hope until Sunday night, when the English national team aims to deliver continental success in front of at least 60,000 fans; each and every one roaring with Three Lions on their chest, backed even further by the millions watching at home or elsewhere.
For the betting industry, too, this provides a considerable boost. We have already discussed the seismic opportunities on offer for gaming firms during Euro 2020 – and the Copa America – on the GI Huddle. Betsson Group CEO, Jesper Svensson, and BetConstruct Group Director of Sportsbook Products, Stuart Baker, exclusively joined Gambling Insider to preview the tournament from a B2B perspective; and the duo probably couldn’t have scripted a more action-packed tournament from a betting standpoint.
But in one of the biggest and maturest regulated online gaming markets in the world (the UK), that opportunity just got a whole lot bigger with the home nation reaching the Euro 2020 final.
Ironically, bookmakers may be facing down the barrel of a huge loss if England, pre-tournament favourite, does triumph – with Harry Kane also still in contention for the Golden Boot.
Even the industry’s leading CEOs would agree: Come on England!
The total wagered, however, is sure to surge in the coming days. Ahead of England’s Euro 2020 opener against Croatia (which seems so long ago now) Worldpay data showed pre-match betting peaked six minutes before kick-off. Online operators took in 38 payments every second on the game.
And with England reaching its first ever Euros final, don’t expect those kinds of figures to dwindle.
For last night’s semi-final, a survey from the Global Gaming Awards’ Payment Solution of the Year winner, Trustly, further set the tone. A sample size of 2,000 was extrapolated to suggest Brits would spend a collective £2.8bn ($3.86bn) on the game. Not all of this was sports betting, with food delivery taking the three lions’ share (60%) and drinks delivery totalling 44%. But at 34%, sports wagers still generated a significant amount of spend.
Sports bettors around the world and outside the UK, equally, will be sure to take note of an England final – a rare enough occasion to comfortably be a once-in-a-lifetime event for most watching.
With both semi-finals reaching extra-time and Italy vs Spain going all the way to penalties, in-play betting numbers would have undoubtedly soared during the last four stage. Sportsbook suppliers and operators alike will hope for a similarly lengthy outcome in Sunday’s final.
For Italy and England fans, though, there are sure to be at least a few jangled nerves and bitten nails. The bravery of the Spanish Armada and the Danish Vikings — so valiantly playing in solitude for Christian Eriksen, after the midfielder’s cardiac arrest during the opening game — will not be forgotten by the millions watching.
Sports bettors around the world and outside the UK, equally, will be sure to take note of an England final – a rare enough occasion to comfortably be a once-in-a-lifetime event for most watching
Yet, just as the balance sheets will only show total operator revenue once the tournament ends, regardless of its victor, the history books will only remember one champion.
Following the torrid, pandemic-ridden 18 months that has affected both Italy and England (though neither nation is alone here, of course) the Euros has now brought an incredible opportunity ready to be seized. It, too, has brought jubilation and ecstasy to supporters finally allowed to drink beer together and hug in celebration once more.
It’s also allowed gamblers to enjoy a bet on a major international tournament again, 12 months after it was first supposed to happen. And let’s not forget players can now return to betting via retail outlets, something Covid-19 restrictions simply did not allow for the majority of the past year and a half.
So it is with all due respect that the team here at Gambling Insider wishes our colleagues, partnering firms and industry peers in Italy the best of luck. But we firmly hope football is coming home, no matter how much it ends up costing the bookies.
We’re sure even the industry’s leading CEOs would agree: Come on England!