Russia wagering falls as ruble declines: junior hockey a betting magnet

BY STEVEN STRADBROOKE

Russia‘s sports bettors dramatically reduced the size of their average wagers in Q1 due to the sharp decline in value of the ruble.

According to statistics compiled by Russian bookmaker Rub90, the average bet over the first three months of 2016 was worth $11.39, down $4.13 from Q4 2015. The decline reflects the ruble’s January plunge to a record low thanks to the falling price of oil, Russia’s main export.

Basketball attracted the largest average wagers at $14.57, followed by hockey ($13.51), football ($12.29), handball ($10.02) and volleyball ($9.17). Football’s fall was fairly spectacular, as the sport attracted average wagers of $19.27 in Q4 2015.

Football managed to hold on to its top ranking in terms of the percentage of overall sports wagering, although it’s 32.3% share was seven points lower than in Q4. By contrast, basketball gained 6.5 points to 19.7% and hockey rose three points to 17.5%. Tennis held on to fourth place with 14.7% while volleyball claimed 12%.

Russian bettors’ preference for in-play over pre-match betting showed no signs of letting up, as in-play accounted for three-quarters of all wagers place during Q1.

Interest in in-play betting increases with the lateness of the hour, as it accounts for between 68-78% of all wagers between 9am and 11pm, but this figure soars as high as 94% during the wee hours (possibly reflecting the time difference between Russia and other sporting jurisdictions, particularly North America, the source of NHL and NBA activity).

JUNIOR HOCKEY, SENIOR WAGERS
Rub90 also teamed up with Betting Business Russia to analyze the most popular leagues and events in terms of betting volume during the 2015-16 sports season. The UEFA Champions League topped the chart, followed by the English Premier League, the domestic Kontinental Hockey League, Spain’s Primera Division and the NBA.

In terms of the individual matches that attracted the greatest wagering volume, football claimed 17 of the top 20, while hockey claimed the other three. However, hockey claimed the top two spots, and it wasn’t even close.

The IIHF World Junior Championship game between Finland and Russia topped the chart at 8.4%, followed by Finland vs. Canada in the same tourney (7.5%). The next highest match was a Europa League football tilt between Liverpool and Sevilla, but it managed only a 2.8% score.

Source: Calvin Ayre

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