Entain reveals why it’s impossible to call

  • The 2023 tournament is gearing up to be the most wide-open in history, with only a 5% difference in the top four teams’ chances of clinching the title.
  • 19% surge in bets placed to date on the 2023 tournament compared to 2019, as unpredictability of the contest fuels fan excitement.
  • Fiji’s rising underdog support and anticipation for a potential first semi-final appearance shifts their odds from 100/1 to 25/1 since the tournament start.

As the group stages of this year’s Rugby World Cup come to a close, Entain, the global leader in sports betting, gaming, and interactive entertainment, reveals that the competition is gearing up to be one of the most unpredictable tournaments in rugby history.

Unlike in 2019, when eyes were on either England or New Zealand to take home the trophy, it is anyone's game in the 2023 tournament. There is only a 5% difference in the likelihood of the top four teams (South Africa, Ireland, France, and New Zealand) taking the title, according to Entain’s UK sportsbook.

The unpredictability of the tournament is also fuelling fan excitement, with a record number of bets placed on the tournament. Compared to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Entain’s flagship Ladbrokes and Coral brands in the UK have seen a 15% and 23% increase respectively in the total number of bets placed to date on this year’s contest.

No one can call it, but why is that?

The luck of the draw.

The phrase ‘by the luck of the draw’ has never rung so true for Ireland, France, New Zealand, and the reigning champions South Africa, who have been grouped together on one side of the draw. And all while these heavyweights battle it out, the stage has been set on the other side for lower ranked nations like England, Wales, and Fiji to go far.

The ‘birthright’ rule for Pacific Islanders.

Catalysed by the ‘birthright’ rule[1] which was announced in 2021, fan excitement has grown pre-tournament for Pacific Islander sides Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji, with Entain’s Ladbrokes and Coral brands in the UK recording a 50% increase in the sum of bets placed on these teams from 2019 compared to 2023.

And when it comes to backing the underdog, Fiji’s 2023 squad is no exception. As confidence grows in Fiji, with odds shifting from 100/1 to 25/1 since opening night, so does the uncertainty of how the 2023 Rugby World Cup will end. The excitement generated from a potential first semi-final appearance from Fiji is undeniable, with almost double the number of customers betting on the Wales-Fiji and Australia-Fiji games this year when compared to the corresponding 2019 games.

The French home advantage.

Not forgetting France’s home advantage, which has contributed to the 4.5-fold increase in proportion of total bets from UK Ladbrokes and Coral customers on Les Blues compared to 2019. It was clear from France’s win over New Zealand on the opening night that the excitement from the French fans will help carry them through the competition. However, with France’s best player now injured, their dream of taking the trophy on home soil may be spoilt.

Dominic Grounsell, Entain’s Chief Commercial Officer, comments: “The Rugby World Cup 2023 embodies the essence of excitement and competition like never before. It's widely seen as the most open Rugby World Cup ever, and it's a testament to the evolving landscape of rugby. With every match, every try, and every upset, we're witnessing the magic of sports entertainment - where underdogs can become champions, and favourites can be humbled. Whether you're a bettor who is a die-hard fan or a casual observer, we're proud to be providing an unparalleled experience that aligns with the electrifying spirit of this year's tournament.”

[1] World Rugby approves birthright amendment for players to transfer unions | World Rugby

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About Entain plc
Entain plc (LSE: ENT) is a FTSE100 company and is one of the world’s largest sports betting and gaming groups, operating both online and in the retail sector. The Group owns a comprehensive portfolio of established brands; Sports brands include BetCity, bwin, Coral, Crystalbet, Eurobet, Ladbrokes, Neds, Sportingbet, Sports Interaction and SuperSport; Gaming brands include Foxy Bingo, Gala, GiocoDigitale, Ninja Casino, Optibet, Partypoker and PartyCasino. The Group owns proprietary technology across all its core product verticals and in addition to its B2C operations provides services to a number of third-party customers on a B2B basis.

The Group has a 50/50 joint venture, BetMGM, a leader in sports betting and iGaming in the US. Entain provides the technology and capabilities which power BetMGM as well as exclusive games and products, specially developed at its in-house gaming studios. The Group is tax resident in the UK and is the only global operator to exclusively operate in domestically regulated or regulating markets operating in over 40 territories.

Entain is a leader in ESG, a member of FTSE4Good, the DJSI and is AA rated by MSCI. The Group has set a science-based target, committing to be carbon net zero by 2035 and through the Entain Foundation supports a variety of initiatives, focusing on safer gambling, grassroots sport, diversity in technology and community projects. For more information see the Group’s website: www.entaingroup.com.