Team USA’s Success in FIFA World Cup Bodes Well for Sports Betting Future

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
NFL News

The popularity of sports betting is poised for inevitable growth despite Team USA’s decisive loss to the Netherlands in the FIFA World Cup Saturday.

The USA entered the tournament with one of the youngest teams in the competition and was led by the youngest team captain—23-year-old Tyler Adams—since 1950. Their progression into the knockout was enough to mark the competition as a success, even if it ended earlier than the players hoped.

Buried behind the performances of Team USA was the decisive victory for the sports betting industry. With the next World Cup set to take place in a host of North American cities, the presence of soccer betting is here to stay.

Performance at the Qatar World Cup

The red, white, and blue started their tournament with two draws against Wales and England before defeating Iran 1-0 in the final match of the group stage. They were expected to put up a solid fight but were also seen as inferior to the worldly powers and not outright favorites to advance to the Round of 16.

Their most impressive performance came against a highly-favored England team. The Americans successfully cut off the connection between England’s midfield and defense and were able to consistently recover the ball in the middle of the pitch, though they were unable to net a winner.

Team USA was eventually sent home by the Netherlands in a 3-1 defeat. Again, Team USA had an argument that they were the better team, but a few mental mistakes led to them conceding three goals mostly against the run of play.

Before the first day of matches kicked off, the American Gaming Association (AGA) estimated around $1.8bn in total would be bet during the tournament. Many of these bettors declared that it would be their first time betting on soccer in any form.

The presence and success of local teams are crucial to sports betting participation for more casual gamblers, which a majority of gamblers are. Having a team nearby, especially one that is winning games, keeps bettors interested in their events and more likely to tune in and support them on legal sports betting sites.

The USA showed enough to earn the attention of at-home supporters with their industrious, thrilling performances. There is now a heap of pressure on sports betting operators heading into the 2026 World Cup, which will be played all over the USA, to capitalize on the momentum of the sport.

Looking ahead to 2026

North America’s bid to host the next World Cup has already been accepted. Matches will occur in:

●    Atlanta, Georgia – Mercedes-Benz Stadium
●    Boston, Massachusetts – Gillette Stadium
●    Dallas, Texas – AT&T Stadium
●    East Rutherford, New Jersey – MetLife Stadium
●    Guadalajara, Mexico – Estadio Akron
●    Houston, Texas – NRG Stadium
●    Kansas City, Missouri – Arrowhead Stadium
●    Los Angeles, California – SoFi Stadium
●    Mexico City, Mexico – Estadio Azteca
●    Miami, Florida – Hard Rock Stadium
●    Monterrey, Mexico – Estadio BBVA
●    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Lincoln Financial Field
●    San Francisco, California – Levi’s Stadium
●    Seattle, Washington – Lumen Field
●    Toronto, Ontario, Canada – BMO Field
●    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – BC Place

An estimated 132 million Americans live in states with legal sports betting. That number was just 10 million during the 2018 World Cup. According to an analysis from FIFA and data company Sportsradar, that competition handled a cool $155 billion in total bets worldwide.

Another problem that has inhibited Americans from getting behind soccer and betting on soccer at the bookies is the lack of top-level talent. Many of the best players in the world play in England, Spain, Germany, and Italy, in addition to a few other European and South American clubs. 

The World Cup helped out casual American viewers by aggregating the best players into one competition on mainstream television. That effect will be amplified when teams come to play in nearby towns and stadiums seen every weekend during NFL games.

Based on the current trajectory of sports betting, it is possible that nearly all, if not every, state has legal sports betting by the time the next World Cup lands on American soil. Though that date is still four years away, sports betting companies will likely ramp up their efforts to grow soccer’s popularity in the build-up to the tournament.

Team USA’s performance in 2026 could ultimately prove the deciding factor in how much soccer betting grows. Assuming its young core continues to grow and improve, sportsbooks could be in luck.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.