Unibet set for World Chess rush

06 Nov 2018

By: Sport Industry Group

Official betting partner Unibet expects the upcoming FIDE World Chess Championship in London to generate turnover higher than some FIFA World Cup 2018 matches and comparable to the turnover of the UEFA Champions League final.

The online gambling operator released its forecast as it prepares to activate the event, which will run between 9th and 28th November, pitting defending champion Magnus Carlsen against American challenger Fabiano Caruana.

Unibet became the first-ever official betting partner of the FIDE World Chess Championship Match when it agreed an unprecedented deal with the international chess federation’s commercial rights owner World Chess earlier this year.

It comes at a time when the so-called ‘mind sport’ is experiencing rapid growth within the sports betting arena, which has witnessed a 17-fold increase in chess-related betting since 2013.

Unibet’s pre-match odds give three-time champion Carlsen a 2/3 chance of winning. In contrast, Caruana’s relative long odds of 1/3 reflect the fact than no US-born player has has won or even competed for a World Championship since Bobby Fischer in 1972.

Commenting ahead of the 12-game match, Ilya Merenzon, CEO of World Chess, said: “The odds show just how exciting this championship will be. It’s great to see the betting community from across the globe, as well as six hundred million chess fans, come together, proving that the sport is continually becoming even more popular. 

“The tournament is the highlight of the chess calendar and millions of fans around the world will follow every move.”

Richard Öström, country manager for Unibet Norway, added: “The interest in chess is continuing to grow and as the leading online bookmaker in Europe, we want to be a part of and contribute to big sporting events. This year’s World Championship showdown between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana in London will continue to establish chess as a permanent fixture in betting.”

The FIDE World Chess Championship will kick off on the 8th November with a star-studded red-carpet event held at the V&A Museum in London.

The event is operated by World Chess, the official partner of the World Chess Federation (FIDE), which owns the commercial rights to the brand and the World Chess Championship cycle. Coverage will be available throughout the month on the World Chess OTT platform.