World Indoor Championship Betting

Also known as lawn bowling, bowls is typically an outdoor sport played on lush surfaces of green grass and only under acceptable weather conditions. However, the sports’ growing popularity, coupled with the development of specially prepared synthetic pitches, allowed professional games to be brought indoors in the late 1970s. This took the weather out of the equation, while providing greater uniformity of surfaces from location to location.

The properly constituted controlling body for the game of flat green indoor bowls worldwide is the World Indoor Bowls Council (WIBC), established in 1983. Its constituent members currently include the English Indoor Bowling Association, the Association of Irish Indoor Bowls, the Scottish Indoor Bowling Association, the Welsh Indoor Bowls Association and the Malaysian Lawn Bowling Federation.

Also represented in the WIBC are the Jersey Indoor Bowling Association and the Isle of Man Bowling Association. They are joined by four other national organisations representing professional women bowlers in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Guernsey.

The first World Indoor Championships for Men were staged in 1984, followed a year later by the introduction of the WIBC World Pairs Championship. In 1987, the World Indoor Bowls Council Ladies Section (WIBCLS) held its inaugural meeting, which led to the launch of the WIBCLS Singles Championships in 1988.

For a full decade, the World Indoor Championships for Men and Women were conducted under the auspices of the WIBC. Arising out of the 1992 tournament, however, was a new organisation called the World Bowls Tour (WBT), and by 1998 the Tour had agreed to take over the running of the World Indoor Singles and Pairs.

Over the next twelve months, the Men and Ladies sections combined to form a newly constituted Council, resulting in the WIBC Men’s and Ladies’ World Championships. It did not take long for the first Two-Wood Mixed Pairs Championship to be added to the tourney format.

Up to this time, holding the World Indoor Championship each year depended almost entirely upon the availability of financial backing from Council members. The event was staged in whatever country was willing to cover the cost of conducting the event. From 2002, however, private sponsorship was secured from Potters Holidays for the World Indoor Singles and Pairs, and in 2006, all of the events of the WBT and WIBC were combined in a single Potters World Indoor Bowls Championship tournament in Norfolk.

Since then, Potters have invested more than £3,000,000 as the primary sponsor of the annual tourney, which attracts the world’s best players to East Anglia from the globe’s leading bowls nations. Held in January, the two-week festival features live BBC TV coverage in the U.K., along with international exposure on Eurosport and Sky TV.

Qualifying rounds culminate in four World Indoor Finals—the Ladies World Indoor Matchplay, World Indoor Mixed Pairs Matchplay, the World Indoor Pairs and the highly prestigious World Indoor Singles Championship. The latter event features the WBT Top 16 pitted against the top qualifiers from around the globe.

Ante-post wagering begins more than a month in advance of the first matches. In December 2011, for example, SkyBet was offering fixed odds on 35 bowlers for 2012 Championship Outrights. Heading the list was England’s Greg Harlow at 13/2, followed by Scotland’s Paul Foster at 7/1 and two other WTB stars at 8/1—David Gourlay and Mervyn King.

Once the bowling begins, betting is available through most major bookmakers on head-to-head match-ups. Live wagering is also provided by many online sportsbooks. The overall prize fund exceeds £100,000, making these the richest championships in the field of bowls.

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