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How the Winter World Cup in Qatar impacts other sports events, including the Premier League.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup, like the ones that have preceded it, will be watched by billions of people around the globe. However, this year’s tournament comes accompanied by new challenges for iGaming operators. The most obvious challenge is the winter scheduling, which is likely to lead to increased competition for customers’ funds.

Due to the extreme summer heat conditions in the host nation Qatar, the World Cup is set to begin on November 21 and end on December 18.  

Since the World Cup’s timing is sandwiched in the middle of domestic seasons, it also impacts the traditional football calendar. For instance, the English Premier League has begun a week earlier than usual, on August 6, and will break mid-November before the World Cup starts on November 21. Other prominent European leagues and tournaments, such as Italy’s Serie A, Spain’s La Liga, Germany’s Bundesliga, and France’s Ligue 1 will also be affected. 

Due to the condensed schedule, teams are playing more frequently, meaning the hype and build-up that usually surrounds some of the top games will likely be more muted since it is harder for fans to keep abreast of all of these rolling fixtures. 

The unusual timing of the 2022 World Cup also does not leave much lead-up time or break for the players. All of these circumstances have contributed to an unprecedented uncertainty for predicted betting habits, as well as turnover that sports betting operators must prepare for. 

How will the World Cup impact Premier League gambling? 

This year’s Premier League is so hectic that some clubs in England’s top league must play three games in seven days to ensure the season will be completed on time. 

Since many Premier League stars are set to represent their nations at the World Cup, the league has introduced a winter break – something familiar to those who play football across Europe, but alien to players in the world’s biggest league. 

Here’s how the busy winter footballing schedule looks: 

  • November 12 and 13 (Saturday and Sunday) will be the final weekend of games before the World Cup starts.  
  • The World Cup will begin on November 21, giving players only a week to prepare.  
  • The FIFA World Cup Final will be on December 18, bringing the tournament to a close.  
  • The Premier League will resume on December 26 with its usual Boxing Day fixtures. 

The six-week break will be ideal for some players to recuperate, since not every elite player will be participating in the Qatar World Cup. The opposite can be said for the teams with the star players who are called up for their national squad, as they may find the timing of the World Cup affects the momentum and domestic aspirations of their league clubs. Logically, the break will suit squads that have either huge depth or squads that don’t have many players going to the World Cup. 

From a sportsbook’s point of view, the fact that the Premier League resumes so quickly could cause a lot of issues, since it is extremely likely that a lot of fans, especially casual ones, will be burnt out from the World Cup, meaning their focus will not necessarily turn back to the Premier League. 

How does the Qatar 2022 World Cup impact the rest of Europe? 

Spain’s La Liga will follow a similar format to the Premier League’s. Although it will end its season on the same weekend, club fixtures will not start up again until December 29. 

Germany’s Bundesliga and Italy’s Serie A will also finish on the same weekend. However, the players will not return until January 2023, giving their players some much-needed rest. The Serie A is scheduled to return early in the month, whereas the Bundesliga will only return after a 10-week break, with games resuming on January 20, 2023. 

The final match for France’s Ligue 1 will take place on November 13 and will recommence on December 28. 

Rules of retention. 

Much like how the Qatar World Cup will impact player attendance and performance in national leagues, gambling operators must also be prepared for the challenge of retaining customers after the World Cup tournament. 

Customer retention during and following a global tournament is vital for successful sportsbooks. With the World Cup taking place during the middle of a season, this presents a unique opportunity for gambling operators to retain customers. 

As the Premier League is expected to resume just a week after the World Cup ends on December 18, there is a much shorter window for customer retention, especially when you compare it to Euro 2020, when the gap was longer than a month. 

To retain customers successfully, it may help to offer an onboarding and player experience that is not only sustainable but scalable beyond the Qatar World Cup 2022. 

Operators must be aware that the competition for bettors is fierce, and the World Cup provides an excellent opportunity to attract new customers.  

The last thing sportsbooks want is for their customers to familiarize themselves with their products – whether they include a strong bet builder or extensive player props – only to disappear when the domestic season starts the following week. 

Undoubtedly, competition for new bettors during the World Cup will be intense. Operators with a solid sportsbook product that can deliver a wide variety of markets, strong CRM/marketing campaigns, and a high level of combinability at scale are well-positioned to benefit from the unique opportunities of the 2022 World Cup and beyond. 

How to be compliant with ALL European regulations. 

As a gambling platform, being compliant with European regulations regarding KYC and AML poses another challenge. Launching a platform in Europe that ticks all of the jurisdictional boxes can feel like navigating through a labyrinth. 

Not knowing which way to turn may cause some companies to implement partial KYC and customer onboarding solutions that are only compliant in certain regions. Being non-compliant in certain regions will affect operations, leaving potential for fines or fraud, while potentially risking customer trust. 

Although some countries may have similar regulatory requirements regarding user identity verification and anti-money laundering measures, they may vary in terms of stringency.  

Another factor to consider when choosing a customer onboarding solution is that new users are likely to abandon lengthy, manual registration processes. 

Enter IDnow’s AutoIdent, an AI-powered identity verification tool compliant with regulations across 195 countries and offering coverage in over 30 languages. 

IDnow streamlines the onboarding process of gambling platforms. Bettors must simply scan their identity documents via a mobile device and AutoIdent automatically does the rest, processing the data and verifying identities within a matter of minutes. 

Preparing for kick off. 

Contrary to tradition, the World Cup tournament will take place during a crucial part of the European football season, with football clubs nearly a third of the way through their respective campaigns. The timing presents unique challenges for domestic clubs, players, and for sportsbooks, as winter sports betting habits are expected to be very different this year. 

The UK saw a 50% upsurge in gambling activity from the 2014 World Cup till 2018, with each game recording an average turnover of €2.1 billion. That number is projected to grow even higher this year 

However, while operators may find new opportunities to attract customers, they also face competing pressure to retain customers after the World Cup ends. That is where easy onboarding and intuitive products come into play.  

Download our ‘The Fifa World Cup 2022 is just around the corner‘ guide to discover how identity-proofing technology enables gambling operators to offer a safe, secure and friction-less experience for bettors, new and old. 

By

How the Winter World Cup in Qatar impacts other sports events, including the Premier League. 1

Roger Redfearn-Tyrzyk
Director Global Gambling & Sales UK at IDnow
Connect with Roger on LinkedIn

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