The 2014 World Cup is coming and Las Vegas, unlike any other time in its history, is already salivating at the potential handle the global tournament is going to generate for their sportsbooks.
While football – or soccer, as they call it in the US – is still a relatively background sport in America compared to the NFL and the NBA, there is growing interest in the sport. ESPN is already broadcasting English Premier League matches on a regular basis and other sports networks have taken to a more aggressive approach in promoting the sport and showcasing some of the exploits of Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo from across the continent.
So with that increased interest, Vegas sportsbooks are also reaping the rewards as the sport has become a huge part of sportsbooks’ business in Las Vegas. So with football’s pre-eminent tournament scheduled to open in a few months, you can bet a Manuel Neuer penalty save on Mesut Ozil that Las Vegas books will be pushing hard to give the betting people what they want.
The excitement is already brewing and Adam Pullen, a senior trader at William Hill U.S, told Sporting News, noted that this wave of enthusiasm could end up being a record haul for these books. “The handle should just go through the roof, bigger than any World Cup ever as far as betting goes,” Pullen said.
Unlike the NFL, specifically the Super Bowl, accurately determining the handle for the upcoming World Cup is going to be difficult because as pointed out by Marcus Dinitto of the LinesMakers, the Nevada Gaming Control Board doesn’t include soccer as a stand-alone sport in determining monthly revenue reports, labeling it in the “others” category unlike (American) football, basketball, or baseball.
But make no mistake, the interest in the sport itself compounded by the increased coverage from sports networks like ESPN is generating more and more interest from casual sports fans these days, many of whom probably don’t even remember who won the 2006 World Cup. But with access to the sport now more readily available, football is taking a hold of the American audience and no more will that be evident than the betting handle Vegas sportsbooks stand to take once the 2014 World Cup kicks off in Brazil this July.
Americans may not have known who the past greats are in the sport, but a lot of them sure know who Lionel Messi is. They also know who Cristiano Ronaldo is. And with that increased awareness, coupled with the fact that good ‘ol Team USA will be playing in the tournament, you can bet on it that the World Cup will be on a lot of people’s minds in the US this coming July.
Las Vegas sportsbooks included.