Soccer: NZ soccer gains $500k from record betting spree

By Terry Maddaford

A cheque for more than $500,000 will be in New Zealand Football hands before the end of the month as the game continues to profit from a record betting bonanza on the Fifa World Cup.

New Zealand soccer fans pumped more than $25 million into TAB coffers in an unprecedented splurge on a sporting event.

The TAB's income from the month-long tournament in South Africa was a record for any event on which they have offered odds.

Spokesman Gary Pearn said the income was about $3 million more than was wagered on the cup in Germany four years ago and "miles ahead" of the around $10 million bet on the last Rugby World Cup in 2007.

New Zealand Football receives 5 per cent of any profits and 1 per cent of all turnover on the cup.

"We came up a little short on what we had budgeted," said Pearn who, when asked why they had set that figure ($28 million) so high, said "because we are greedy".

But overall he and the TAB were more than happy with their return.

"Having New Zealand there definitely helped," said Pearn. "Right from the start soccer fans were into the World Cup.

"You would be surprised how many people backed New Zealand at our original odds of $1000 to win. We would have been badly burned if that had happened.

"It will be a healthy earner for New Zealand Football and a bonus to go with the cheque they get each month from other footballing activities like the Champions League, the English Premier League, the A-League and even the New Zealand Football Championship."

Pearn said the TAB had been surprised by the number of new accounts opened for the World Cup.

"We had expected around 7000 to sign up as new account-holders on the back of the promotion we did but we never expected the 30,000 we got," said Pearn. "And they were keen to bet on all options. At some points we had 25 options available and they were well-supported."

New Zealand Football chairman Frank van Hattum said much of the TAB money "will find its way into grassroots programmes".

The players will not share in these spoils as they are already to split about $4 million as their share of the US$7 to $8 million ($9.9 million to $11.3 million) headed to the national body.

- NZ Herald

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