The World Cup, Stateside: 3 Data Trends that US Operators Can Use to Add Customers

The 2018 World Cup kicks off next month. What does this mean for US casino operators?

Three things to know:

1. The World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the US (and growing).

World Cup 2018 will touch every country, even the ones that didn’t qualify…like the United States. America loves a spectacle, and loves to bet, so when the world’s biggest stars, teams and brands come out to play, the US will be watching.

World Cup TV Viewership by the Numbers

Yes, the United States team failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 (we know, we know, we know), yet interest in the sport continues to rise nationwide.

According to TicketIQ, Major League Soccer is the fastest growing American sports in terms of attendance, experiencing nearly 13% growth from 2014-2016. (All other major US sports are essentially flat, by comparison).

So, public interest is growing. Great. What does that mean for future sportsbook operators?

Let’s take a quick look at the strong influence the World Cup has on regulated handled in Nevada.

2. The World Cup activates sports bettors during the slow season, so future operators that harness the attention of soccer fans stand to get a head start on sports betting in the US.

Typically, June and July represent two of the slowest months of the sports betting calendar, based on numbers provided by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

During the summer doldrums, with only a steady staple of baseball to keep handle moving, the quadrennial World Cup has proven to dramatically increase betting handle in Nevada.

*Conservative Estimate of 200% Growth Would Deliver a Handle of $156 Million for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

In a nutshell, the World Cup brings out new customers and many fans driven by national pride, which is tough to bet against.

3. World Cup bettors are likely more casual bettors, and more profitable bettors to have on your book.

As the premier tournament in the world’s most popular sport, this event is extensively covered across all media channels, making it conducive to existing fans, and connecting with new recreational soccer fans.

Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar…fans may not agree on which the best player in the world, but most certainly have an opinion, and many are willing to express that opinion–or their national allegiances–in a F2P game, a DFS game, or in a bet.

It’s clear that hearts ruled minds back in 2014 when hold margins during the World Cup months outperformed similar months in other years. Most industry experts expect to see hold margins consistent with past World Cups.

Invariably, large numbers of recreational bettors will compensate for any sharp action and keep hold healthier than a normal summer.

An anticipated handle of 6% for the 2018 World Cup generates an expected win amount of $9,386,000.

So, how can Casinos and future Sports Betting operators leverage the World Cup today?

Until PASPA is repealed, operators can focus on two things:

  1. Identifying and engaging sports bettors in their loyalty program.
  2. Incorporating mobile content and games into marketing campaigns that capture customer data and start building a sports betting database.

During the World Cup:

  • Host live events for Big Matches. Engage retail patrons at your sports bars with single-game and tournament-long games.
  • Capture email addresses from ‘Unknown Soccer Fans’ at live events AND from social media/websites with free-to-play games.
  • Manage the betting event lifecycle with pre-race and afterglow marketing campaigns.

Yes, the World Cup will be over before you know it, but the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, etc. will all start again come August, and seasonal soccer betting will begin again.

With major PASPA reform rapidly approaching, getting a head start on sports betting customer acquisition is more important than ever.

Feeling like kicking-off today? Try our F2P World Cup Opener game to find out how we power customer engagement, and begin building rich, permission-based customer profiles.

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