24/05/2021; 8:26 AM By : Steven D. Thompson
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The Grand National steeplechase at Aintree last weekend was the UK’s largest online sports betting event. A unique set of circumstances arising from COVID-19 helped outperform the soccer World Cup in total sports betting handle.
According to an estimate from Paddy Power, over £100 million was wagered on the race. A spokesperson for Paddy Power’s parent firm Flutter Entertainment said this was a significant improvement compared to 2019 when the pandemic first struck.
However, a second interview with Ladbrokes’ owner Entain revealed that the total handle was less than what the event is used to generate from offline wagers. A spokesperson for Entain, which also owns Coral, revealed that the group recorded over 150,000 punters every minute across its platforms during the race.
The event took place in front of empty stands. The organizers banned in-person attendance due to the ongoing pandemic, which forced their hands to cancel the race last year. Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore won at odds of 11-1 on Minella Times to become the first female jockey to triumph in the competition since the induction back in 1839.
“This year’s race broke all previous records in terms of total online bets from our UK brands. The results were in line with our initial expectations”, revealed Dominic Grounsell, the head of Sports Brands at Entain.
Commenting on the event, online sportsbook 888Sport confirmed that “this was the biggest race event” for the brand. The total handle amounted to nearly three times the proceeds generated in 2019. Nearly 13 million people wager on race events every year, and the numbers were consistent this year.
“The problem is we don’t see the money return if the result is disappointing. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case this year, and we did quite well. Having a female winner accentuated the situation”, a spokesperson for William Hill revealed.
A seven-figure payout on Minella Times was the biggest single selection payout on 888’s sports platform. The sportsbook confirmed that Minella Times was the third most famous selection of the day.
“One lucky punter scored a treble off Minella Times, Happygolucky, and Thyme Hill, scoring £1,000 off just £6.50 at 157/1”, a spokesperson for 888 revealed. European sportsbooks are some of the most professional organizations in the world. This has drawn aspiring American punters to the other side of the pond for a while.
The Grand National is an iconic event in the UK and has attracted the one-bet-a-year demographic for years. It’s one of those days when you’ll see even the elderly take a stroll down to the nearest sportsbook to place a wager.
According to a Reuters report, over £100 million was wagered on the event across the industry on platforms like SkyBet, Betfair, Power Paddy, and more. Apart from making history, the event marked the biggest payout ever on a female jockey.