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WC to be UK's biggest betting event

10/06/2010 08:14:41 AM Comments (0)

The football World Cup is set to become the biggest-ever betting event in Britain, bookmakers say, with online gambling expected to help turnover hit more than STG1 billion ($A1.79 billion).

Britons are expected to bet around a billion pounds ($A1.79 billion), breaking all records, with the growth of online gambling seeing many more people becoming punters.

But gamblers are seemingly not just backing England - bets are going on a whole variety of teams, matches and outcomes.

"It's huge, really surging this week and going into a World Cup frenzy for football fans," Darren Haines, spokesman for bookmakers Paddy Power, told AFP on Wednesday.

"We anticipate one-billion-pounds being gambled industry-wide, and the further England go in the tournament, it's more likely that this figure will be comfortably surpassed.

"It will be the biggest betting event in British history, without a doubt."

Betting shop chain William Hill also predicted a one-billion-pound World Cup turnover for the industry in Britain.

"This is the World Cup in which Internet betting has really come into its own," spokesman Graham Sharpe told AFP.

"We have online clients in 188 countries who are betting on the World Cup, which dilutes the impact of everyone betting on England.

"If England reach the final and lose on penalties to New Zealand, that would be perfect for us."

Other factors for the predicted record betting beside the growth of online gambling include the scheduling of matches, which will see games televised from South Africa at evening peak times.

Ladbrokes predicted that it could take up to 100 bets per second during England's opening game against the United States in Rustenburg on Saturday.

It said in-play betting had seen a rapid growth and would likely account for a third of all betting turnover, while gambling via mobile phone devices would probably break all records.

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