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Thursday, 27 June, 2002, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK

World Cup breaks betting records

The 2002 World Cup has been the biggest betting event of all-time, according to leading bookmaker Ladbrokes.

The World Cup finals was the first major football tournament to be staged since betting tax was abolished in the UK.

And Ladbrokes claim a turnover of around 200m will have been taken by bookmakers in the UK.

England's defeat of Argentina resulted in a big payout for UK bookmakers, but an unprecedented number of upsets mean it has been a very successful tournament for bookies.

Ladbrokes chief executive Chris Bell said: "Euro 2000 was a winner for the punters, but results have been kinder to us during this World Cup.

World interest

"Now the challenge is to continue to build our customer base on a global basis."

Ladbrokes received several bets in excess of 100,000, with one punter staking 150,000 on Ireland to beat Saudi Arabia at odds of 1/3.

The England-Brazil match attracted the most bets, despite the 0730 BST kick-off, with 10 million placed on the quarter-final game.

Ladbrokes received bets from more than 60 different countries via the telephone or through their internet site.

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