The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is now officially in the history books. The final took place on Sunday, December 18th, with Argentina beating France on penalties to lift the trophy. Argentina wasn’t the only winner from this tournament though, with sports betting numbers being up 13% from the previous tournament according to OpenBet.
The data released by OpenBet shows that North America is continuing to embrace football as a sport ahead of the 2026 World Cup. The numbers showed that the Super Bowl was the only event to have received more bets in the US this year, while Canada saw a 21% increase on bets placed from the previous tournament.
According to statistics from GeoPlay, the final between Argentina and France pulled in an impressive 7.9 million geolocation bets in the US. This was second only to the Super Bowl, which pulled in 23.5 million. These numbers put it comfortably ahead of the NBA Finals, which received 5.1 million, and the NCAA Tournament championship match, which had 4.8 million.
The US men’s team proved hugely popular with bettors, with more than 12 million bets placed on them. The team went on to have a successful tournament, being knocked out in the knock-out stages by the Netherlands. There were no figures released for the Canadian or Mexican teams, both of which performed poorly and crashed out in the group stages.
These record-breaking betting numbers will definitely grab the attention of state officials in the US, with the country set to co-host the next tournament alongside Canada and Mexico in 2026. This was the first World Cup where sports betting was legal in states other than just Nevada. There is a strong chance more states will have licensed sports betting by 2026.
It wasn’t just North American bettors breaking records during the World Cup. OpenBet also reported several new records in Europe. The engagement level was up 22% from the previous World Cup, which was held in Russia in 2018.
OpenBet CEO Jordan Levin provided some analysis of these numbers. They said that the strong performance in Europe, combined with the growth displayed in North America, demonstrates the company’s ability to cater to newly regulated markets. They also said that these numbers are encouraging for the 2026 World Cup.
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is the most unique in the tournament’s history, and this presented several challenges for sportsbooks. The tournament taking place in the Winter in Europe and during the middle of the traditional football season sparked concerns that bettors would not adapt.
The numbers that have been released by OpenBet paint a very different picture, and there are likely to be similar reports released in the coming weeks. The tournament has seen plenty of changes in betting behaviour. One such example was seen in Sweden, where the Kindred Group reported an increase in pre-match betting. This was due to kick-off times in the tournament taking place during working hours.