In a development that is sure to worry the sports betting business, football betting saw a decrease in popularity in Russia year-on-year for the last year. Based upon figures released by Russia based gambling company First Gaming, the money placed on wagers on football in Russia was only 40% in 2015, down from 63% the previous year. It is hard not to be concerned by it, considering that football is the most popular game in the world. In addition, and more worryingly, the average size of bets on all sports came down to $15.35 in 2015 from $30.08 in 2014. This is a drop of 50% and is without doubt a cause of concern.
Rub90, one of the sponsors of First Gaming, made the observation that 2015 could have been a lack lustre year because there was no major sporting event conducted then. If 2014 saw a huge number of online wagers on sports, and particularly on football, this was because of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Furthermore, the Winter Olympics in Sochi, although bearing no relation to football, would also have attracted a whole lot of people to gambling sites. In addition, the Rouble dropped in value at the same time, and this volatility of exchange rate also caused the reduction in value of wagers.
Russians Enjoy Sports Betting
Russians use a number of online casinos such as EuroGrand (a subsidiary of world famous UK based bookmaking firm William Hill), Real Deal Bet and Winner Casino to place bets on a number of sports apart from football. Basketball comes second with 18.35% of wagers whereas Tennis comes third at 18,19% of all sports wagers. Other popular sports are volleyball and ice hockey, each of which got around 10% of the wagers in 2015. However, the drop in the Rouble’s value also affected the average bets on these sports. The average bets on basketball were higher than that of any other sport at $19.39. Handball is also getting to be very popular in Russia, as is evident from the average wager amount of $16.54. The average bet on football was just $16.81.
Professional Sports Leagues
Russians also gambled a lot on many professional sporting leagues with the NBA getting almost 4% of the total wagers. The Continental Hockey League came a very close runner up at 3.67% and the UEFA Football Champions League made it to the third position.
The proportion of live betting to pre-match wagers remained almost the same in 2015 when compared to 2014. Interestingly, the maximum live bets were placed late in the evening and early in the morning, mostly because punters would be following matches taking place in North America. Most bets were placed during the spring because this was when UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers took place and so did the final stages of various important football and hockey tournaments.
The overall health of the sports gambling industry depends on its ability to get gamblers to keep coming back to place wagers on many sporting events.