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Bets And Burgers: UK Plc Profits From Euros But Pubs Miss Out

by Cassie Angliss (2021-10-28)

By Muvija M

July 13 (Reuters) - England's run to the final of the Euro 2020 soccer tournament bolstered business for bookmakers and food delivery firms but pubs lamented a missed opportunity because of coronavirus curbs.

Bookmakers reported record-breaking bets being placed during the month-long tournament, while online food delivery firm Just Eat saw orders peak at 2.5 per minute on match days in Britain.

But pub operators missed out on 9 million pounds in beer sales during Sunday's final because of pandemic curbs on capacity, the British Beer & Pub Association has estimated.

The final was the highest staking football match in Flutter's history "by a long way", the company told Reuters, with some 30 million pounds gambled across its Paddy Power, Sky Bet and Betfair platforms.

"England's performance has definitely played a role in spending patterns... We have never seen so much support for an England team before," a Flutter spokesperson said.

Rival Entain, which owns Ladbrokes and Coral, called the tournament its "biggest ever sports-betting event", estimating bets at about 250 million pounds.

A more online-focused company, 888, said its platform 888sport had seen more bets being placed on Sunday's England-Italy final than on any other sporting event, beating the record from last week's semi-final against Denmark.

"It wasn't the result England were hoping for but Italy were more popular in the betting on the match and were well backed to win the tournament throughout the month," Kieran Spellman, vice president and head of sports at 888, told Reuters.

England's men lost the final on penalties to Italy, dashing hopes of a first major title in 55 years.

Young & Co's Brewery - 245 of whose 273 pubs show sports - said limits on customer numbers and the requirement that all patrons sit at tables were hurting business.

"The opportunity was lost for our business due to heavy regulated COVID restrictions," a company spokesperson said.

Specialist sports bars and pubs were only catering to around a third of their usual crowd on Sunday, trade body UKHospitality said.

Food delivery firms enjoyed a surge in orders as people gathered in their homes instead to watch the matches.

Finals day fittingly had an Italian flavour -- orders of dessert Tiramisu saw an uplift in many countries, while pizza outsold burgers, according to Just Eat Takeaway. (Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru, writing by Sachin Ravikumar Editing by Keith Weir and Gareth Jones)