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Moscow, St. Petersburg Bookies Win Big From World Cup

Artyom Geodakyan / TASS

Bookmakers in Russia’s World Cup host cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg have seen a fivefold increase in online searches during the tournament, according to data gathered by Russia’s top search engine.

Tech giant Yandex uses data from its map service to determine what interests users in a particular city. All 11 of the football World Cup host cities in Russia saw a spike in searches for tourist attractions, Yandex announced last week.

On Friday, Yandex said average searches for bookmakers went up by 374 percent nationwide between May and July. Searches for stadiums and parking spots followed, with an increase of 247 percent and 126 percent each.

Searches for bookmakers in Moscow grew fivefold in the first three weeks of the World Cup, between June 14 and July 15, the RBC business portal quoted Yandex data as showing.

Bookmakers also topped the search list in St. Petersburg with an increase of 455 percent, according to data shared with the city’s Forpost-sz.ru news website.

One of the country's largest bookmakers, Liga Stavok, saw a fivefold increase in the number of bets placed in comparison to the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament. The numbers far outpaced its modest pre-World Cup prediction of 150 percent growth during the tournament, the Bell business news website reported earlier in July.

RBC reported that Yandex.Maps data in Moscow showed twice as many searches for stadiums and sports bars, followed by hostels and pubs.

However, RBC noted that the top five searched places in Moscow “consist entirely of strip clubs and strip bars.”

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