By Yadarisa Shabong
(Reuters) – British bookmakers have seen a surge in the number of bets placed on the Women’s World Cup compared with previous years, though the timing of the matches meant betting volumes were down on last year’s European Championship.
Britain’s William Hill, now owned by bookmaker 888, said it has taken 900,000 bets on one of the biggest women’s sporting events in the world, which is being hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
“The reduction in quantity versus the Euros could be as a result of the morning kick-off times, but it still is significantly more than we would have taken a few years ago,” said William Hill spokesperson, Lee Phelps.
Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral brands, said it saw “exponential growth” in betting on the sport and a record number of women globally placing bets.
The first three England games saw one-fifth of bets placed by women, it said.
“More of our customers are finding new ways to support their favourite teams – and that’s with a bet,” said Entain’s Chief Commercial Officer Dominic Grounsell.
Betting on the co-host and semi-finalist Australia saw a 200% increase, fuelled by the Matildas strong run.
The size of the women’s sports betting market has grown rapidly, with soccer clocking an annual market growth rate of about 20% since 2020, according to a study conducted by the German Sport University Cologne published in July.
Soccer leads the way in terms of the number of people betting and placing bets, and the number of women betting on women’s soccer has doubled annually, the study said.
Last summer’s European Championship was the biggest women’s event for Flutter and Entain and women’s sports have shown to be a lucrative opportunity for bookmakers and the betting industry.
Entain did not immediately disclose the number of bets placed on the World Cup. A record 1.5 million online bets were placed on last year’s Euros.
(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Conor Humphries)